Blears approves Langtree McLean’s Garden Festival plan

Communities Secretary Hazel Blears today granted permission for a joint venture of Langtree and David McLean to build 1,300 apartments, 66 town houses and a 'waterside park' on the former International Garden Festival site in south Liverpool.

The infamous site has been derelict since the 1984 festival, which emerged out of regeneration plans by the then Conservative minister Michael Heseltine devised following the Toxteth riots three years earlier.

The festival was designed to promote the site for development but a series of proposals never came to fruition.

Following today's approval, the joint venture partners plan to restore 56 acres of public parkland including the Japanese and Chinese gardens.

John Downes, managing director of Langtree Group, said: "Today's decision follows four years of hard work culminating in more than 100 consultation events, over 6,500 man-hours and a considerable financial investment.

"Working closely in partnership with Liverpool City Council, the local community and local partners we have devised plans for a mixed use development and urban park that will bring this derelict site back into productive use allowing the public access to a revitalised parkland already considered part of Liverpool's heritage."

Cllr Warren Bradley, leader of Liverpool City Council, said: "This is an important decision for the city of Liverpool and a victory for common sense. Liverpool City Council applauds the Secretary of State for coming to this decision.

"The site is currently a major blight on the local community and a considerable source of anti-social behaviour. Leaving it vacant after more than 20 years is simply not an option. The plans will ensure that this site is once again an asset that the city can be proud of and, importantly, can access once again.

"We're confident that Langtree McLean can offer a workable solution to the problems posed by the site and we look forward to seeing this scheme come to fruition."

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