FESTIVAL GARDENS WORK TO BE COMPLETED IN THE NEW YEAR
Survey reveals issues caused by contractor’s collapse
The multi-million pound restoration of Liverpool’s Festival Gardens will now be completed in the new year.
Work on the 90-acre venue was delayed by the collapse of main contractor, Mayfield Construction, leaving developer Langtree to source a replacement contractor to finalise the project.
As Tolent has sought to complete the works, they have revealed a series of quality and design issues, causing Langtree to instruct further remedial work.
“A precautionary survey of all Mayfield’s works revealed that some of it just isn’t up to the required design standards and the contractual terms that we agreed,” said Langtree managing director John Downes.
“There are some sub-standard works that are not acceptable. We’ll only open the Festival Park to the people of Liverpool when I can be totally satisfied with the result. If that means taking more time then we apologise but it’s better to be right first off – and I hope that people will agree with that approach and bear with us,” said Mr Downes.
“The survey findings point to a business that was in distress. You don’t cut corners like that unless your eyes are off the ball or you’ve got other issues. No single issue is particularly complex, but there are a few of them so it’ll take a bit of time to put them all right. We had our own team on site monitoring the works as they went along but what we’ve uncovered wouldn’t have been apparent at the time.”
Tolent Construction is tasked with undertaking the remedial work and completing those aspects of the site’s refurbishment that hadn’t been finished at the time of Mayfield’s demise.
Once works are complete, a period of commissioning will commence to ensure that the site is suited to the daily use of being a public park. Long term management of the site will be delivered by the Land Trust working in association with Groundwork Merseyside.
John Downes added: “Commissioning work will ensure that the gardens not only look great, but are also robust enough for the people of the city to use on a daily basis for many years to come.
“A key part of that process will be a series of ramp-up events, organised in conjunction with the The Land Trust, to give local residents, schoolchildren and other members of the community a chance to sample the gardens for themselves.
“After so long in the wilderness, the gardens are nearly there, but it’s important that we take enough time to get them absolutely right before their public debut.”
Originally conceived as the centre-piece of Liverpool’s early regeneration efforts, the site was home to the International Garden Festival for five months in 1984, but a series of failed ownership changes saw it fall into significant disrepair during the following 27 years.
The second phase of the project will see Langtree work with residential developers in bringing forward up to 1,374 new homes on 25 acres located on the area of the former Festival Hall dome.