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The Council subject to due diligence, wishes to acquire the leasehold interest in approximately 85 acres of land at Festival Gardens, Riverside Drive, for the purposes of bringing vacant land back into use, to enhance the existing open space, to promote the existing area as a public space and visitor destination, as well as for potential new residential development to support the growth of the City

The Council has been engaged in preliminary discussions with Langtree, and provisional heads of terms have been agreed. Langtree wish to positively work with the City Council. However, further appraisals and due diligence are required.

The council considers it is in the best interests of the Council and the City to take control of the lease alongside the freehold and look for a balanced mix between public open space, event space and housing in an attractive and desirable waterside location which is otherwise laying derelict in the most part.

The Council will seek a balanced way ahead – that means a combination of quality public open space retaining as much greenery at the site, being sensitive to the prevailing ground maintenance, remediation, and management issues but also to look to maximise the developable portion of the land in a sensitive way.

The Council will seek to deliver:
1. A long term maintenance and management programme that will see the continuation of public access to the ornamental gardens
2. Increased access for the public to the southern grasslands and integration with Otterspool Promenade
3. Opportunities for enhanced public use and activities that could include sport, recreation events, culture etc.
4. A remediation strategy for the north part of the site to enable the development of high quality residential development

The site represents some unique opportunities for cultural events, concerts, exhibitions and community engagement. Because of the nature of the site it could be an extension of the City’s theatrical, musical and public art offer.

Examples could be holding an artist in residence programme working in partnership with the Universities and using the site as a vibrant outdoor classroom with activities for school children through to adults enabling them to experience the diverse horticulture of the site.

An opportunity also exists for Culture Liverpool to work with Liverpool Biennial and Tate Liverpool to develop a coherent and integrated approach to the development of the Festival Garden site as a unique and world-class cultural destination.

Ideas could include an outdoor gallery of public art commissions. The site could then operate as an interactive artists’ playground for children, families and adults.

Key concepts:

  • Art for the public to use
  • Sculpture Park with interaction at its heart – functional and playful artworks that operate to prompt social networks and physical, creative and intellectual responses
  • A trail and interactive site that encourages exercise and wellbeing
  • An innovative site for performance, conferences, research and cultural production

Langtree says it is currently considering all options for the site and has been in dialogue with a number of potential partners.