Festival Gardens , LCC, p.LCC

The site has been the subject of redevelopment proposals for years. Credit: via Liverpool City Council

Liverpool kicks off search for Festival Gardens team 

After taking the 1,500-home project back to the drawing board last year, the city council has now begun the hunt for a multidisciplinary team to work up a fresh vision for the long-awaited South Liverpool regeneration scheme. 

Liverpool is looking to award a £486,000 contract to a team, led by a project manager, that will prepare the development brief and the supporting design and professional documentation for the Festival Gardens project. The contract will run from October 2023 to April 2025.

View the Festival Gardens opportunity

Cllr Nick Small, Liverpool’s cabinet member for growth and economy, described the launch of the tender as a “major step forward”. 

“The work undertaken to date to reach this milestone should not be underestimated, but our focus has been on getting everything right as we need to future-proof this land and make sure it’s fit for purpose for generations to come. 

“We look forward to moving on to the next phase and taking a step closer to this game-changing development.” 

The city council ultimately plans to dispose of a 22-acre chunk of the site to a developer to deliver the 1,500 homes. The appointed multidisciplinary team would assist in this procurement process. 

Liverpool City Council selected Ion Developments to deliver the project in 2018.   

However, last year the authority announced it was taking the project back to the drawing board following what it called a “major review”, bringing Ion’s involvement to an end. 

Speaking at the time, a spokesperson for Ion said the decision was “directly related to the desire of the council and the commissioners to demonstrate that changes are taking place” after a period of upheaval. 

Tender documents for the Festival Gardens scheme state that the project provides an “exciting opportunity to create a thriving, sustainable, healthy, and inclusive neighbourhood with a strong identity and sense of community”. 

In addition, the development will provide 20% affordable provision, should be “aspirational, and low carbon”, and “reinforce active travel principles”, according to the city council. 

The housing plot, once a landfill site, has been the subject of a nearly £60m remediation project since 2020, with main contractor Vinci working to ready the former landfill site for building work. 

This plot was the site of the former International Festival Gardens Dome and Plaza. The other elements of the wider 90-acre site are the Formal Chinese and Japanese Gardens, and the 37-acre Southern Grasslands – 19 acres of this has been relandscaped and a new outdoor public amenity space has been created. 

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Festival gardens again…eye roll. Give up already.

By Gilly

This is a significantly prestigious location. Any development with a riverside such as this needs to be top draw. Why cant the city have a Europe wide design competition ? this needs to be desirable and special as its a unique location and opportunity. We absolutely do not need drab predictable bland housing . Come on LCC show some leadership and insist on top quality.

By Paul M - Woolton

I agree Paul. Failing a design competition, enlisting the services of one of the better Liverpudlian design houses eg Studio MUTT or DK Architects would be a good move. A landscape led design should also be an essential requirement.


How many more years do we have to wait for this to even go to planning ,and then it has to get past the awkward squad of the head of planning, and then the planning committee. As they say don’t hold your breath.

By Anonymous

I can’t help but wonder where all the people that end up living on the site will get a Dr’s surgery or dentist or god forbid they have children that need school places.

By Anonymous

1500 high density homes, prime riverside setting, rising sea levels due to changes in climate can only mean tower blocks built on a former dump site.

By Professor Speak Easy

I live off jericho lane trafficked all day & night by cars & lorries i hope whoever develops the site there will factor this in regarding road access to the site from speke/garston & from north to south via riverside drive which was a road created to serve the 1984 garden festival site not intended to be made into a main road into the city

By Arthur Atherton

It doesn’t matter where housing is proposed in the Liverpool City Region the negativity is always the same: causes traffic problems, building too high, don’t want students, not enough parking,no local services, building on community open space, greedy developers. Liverpool will only prosper if the population and councillors show more flexibility towards projects like this, and a bold approach should be taken. As the motto goes “who dares wins”

By Anonymous

I hope this actually gets off the ground after all these years. I think high density, high quality housing here is a must, as it is an amazing location close to the city centre. As others have said good landscaping is a must. I think the key thing is that ultimately the contract is awarded to a reputable developer who will deliver – and not some local cowboy the council often seems to go with.

By Chris

@Chris – “a reputable developer who will deliver”… sounds to me a lot like Ion Developments! Pity the Council already threw them out with the bath water

By Anonymous

This won’t get off the ground, literally or metaphorically and will join the list of stalled projects that so encapsulate the area.

By Sorrybutru

Whilst spending our money on these vanity projects the Council has allowed the lovely, historic Otterspool Park adjacent to this site to become an overgrown wasteland. Shame on them. But who cares? With only 12% turnout in the recent local elections, it’s clear that they feel that they can do anything they like. They NEVER reference this record breaking low turn out. They have no shame. The sooner they are gone the better, but fat chance.

By Carole Parker

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