Huge Festival Gardens plans one step closer after key funding approved

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A huge development on Liverpool’s Festival Gardens site moved one step closer today.

The land – which has been derelict for over 30 years – is set to be brought back in to use for 1,500 homes.

Today’s Liverpool City Council cabinet meeting approved grant funding of £150,000.

The money will be used to lay the ground for remediation works – needed to tackle problems such as gas risks and groundwater contamination.

The Otterspool site, which housed the International Garden Festival in 1984, was bought by the council for £6m in 2015.

Last February, it was announced that a £10m government funding boost was to bring the waterfront site “back to life”, with plans for around 1,500 homes.



Liverpool's Festival Gardens in Otterspool
The latest grant will help the plans move forward

The Otterspool site was used as a waste dump from after World War II until the 1980s, when it became the centre of Tory minister Michael Heseltine’s efforts to regenerate Merseyside.

Made up of 60 separate gardens by the time they opened in 1984, the Festival Gardens were the centre of the 1984 International Garden Festival.

Taking place between May and October, the festival attracted 3.8m visitors.

But the site slowly fell out of use after the festival finished, with the gardens falling into disrepair and the central dome eventually being torn down in 2006.

A breakthrough for the site finally appeared to happen in 2015, when the council spent millions to buy the site – and draft an ambitious masterplan for the area.

Although work was being done behind the scenes to figure out a future for the site, parts continued to decay for a number of years after the purchase, and pictures from 2018 show areas still in disrepair.



Plans to build around the Festival Gardens site are set to move forward.
Plans to build around the Festival Gardens site are set to move forward

Today’s development is another step towards construction starting in the next few years – and the site being fully utilised again.

Speaking to the ECHO last month, Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “The long term gain in terms of investment, housing and jobs is going to be a game changer for the city and will secure the long term legacy of what everyone hoped for the gardens way back in 1984.

“The potential of the International Festival Gardens site is hugely exciting and we are now at a critical stage of completing the picture of how we can begin to realise its future.”



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