Southern Grasslands, Liverpool City Council, p Liverpool City Council

Southern Grasslands will provide links to Festival Gardens, a former landfill set to become a housing development. Credit: via Liverpool City Council

Liverpool opens 24-acre park by Festival Gardens

Formed using recycled soil, Southern Grasslands rises 30 feet to offer views of the River Mersey and Liverpool’s city centre.

VINCI Building created the 24-acre green space off Riverside Drive using 100,000 cubic metres of soil removed from the Festival Gardens development site, itself a former landfill.

Southern Grasslands officially opened to the public at 10:30am today. Located within a 10-minute walk from St Michael’s train station, the park includes more than 5,700 trees and shrubs, 2 kilometres of walking paths, and an array of picnic tables and public benches.

Visitors will find miniature woodlands and meadows to help increase biodiversity and create wildlife corridors for insects, butterflies and bees.

Cllr Laura Robertson-Collins, Liverpool City Council’s cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said: “The opening of the Southern Grasslands is a watershed moment in both the story of our famous Festival Gardens site and in Liverpool’s journey to tackle climate change.

“Its creation marks the end of a truly monumental two-year long process to excavate the nearby development zone – and is testament to how nature and wildlife can benefit from development when we put our minds to it,” she continued.

Rob Symons, contracts manager at VINCI Building, said the company was proud of its Southern Grasslands work.

“Working collaboratively with Liverpool City Council, our Specialist Subcontractor (Vertase FLi), and numerous other stakeholders, we have delivered a lasting legacy for this part of Liverpool,” Symons said.

He also spoke about how the company approached the use of waste at Festival Gardens to create the park.

“Our methods of working enabled the recovered waste materials from the historic landfill to be recycled and re-processed in numerous ways avoiding the need to go back into landfill elsewhere, whilst sorting all engineering fill from these wastes and using them to create the development zone,” he said.

“Any unsuitable fills were transferred via a riverside haul route to avoid congestion on local roads.

Symonds continued: “These unsuitable engineering materials create the shaped landforms standing proud within the Southern Grasslands. These mounds have been carefully landscaped to increase the biodiversity of this whole area, providing a long-lasting benefit for the local communities use”.

Around 400,000 cubic metres of soil and waste have been removed from the Festival Gardens site since early 2021, as VINCI readies it for a potential housing development of up to 1,500 homes. Of the 400,000 cubic metres of soil and waste, 95% has been recycled.

In addition to fixing the ground itself, VINCI has conducted a £6m programme to install a substation and drainage system on the site. This project received funds from Liverpool City Council, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, Homes England, an OFGEM.

Plans for Festival Gardens are still in flux, with a design team set to be appointed in September to craft a more concrete vision. Liverpool City Council is looking to commence the procurement for a development team in spring 2024.

Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram described Festival Gardens as a symbol of devolution in action.

“The Festival Gardens site holds a special place in the hearts of many Scousers, but it has been left to go to rack and ruin by decades of private sector failure,” he said. “It is only through devolution, with a Metro Mayor working in partnership with Liverpool City Council that we can put that right.

“Our funding is helping to transform the Festival Gardens into a public asset once more and laying the groundwork for homes to be built,” he continued.

“Rather than a forgotten wasteland playing home to dumping, this new grassland should be home to a thriving community of new homeowners.”

Cllr Robertson-Collins described the synergy between the Festival Gardens redevelopment programme and the opening of Southern Grasslands as “the ultimate win-win”.

“Repurposing the soil from a former landfill site to create an eco-haven is a story wildlife campaigners dream of…” she said.

“Liverpool is gaining not just a potential new housing scheme but a year-round recreational space which will also act as a huge new carbon sink and which will benefit our unique coastal biodiversity for decades to come.”

Your Comments

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It will be a great facility with a bit more vision, such as some quality cafes etc overlooking the river , as regards the housing element this needs to be quality design and not just suburban monotony.
As regards the Metro Mayor he has to have a dig at the private sector when surely he can see all over the city region streets and gulleys full of weeds and litter as a result of public sector incompetence.
Let’s hope the new park is well maintained and be such an attraction we might one day have a ferry jetty down there to drop off the day-trippers.

By Anonymous

Amazing news for Liverpool , thought the council would wanna build council houses on there to keep their votes

By Anonymous

Why does no one seem to consider the need for toilet facilities when opening such a space!

By Anonymous

Only for home owners? There are thousands of people who cant afford to buy, and are desperate for family homes when do they get a look in. I see the council have once again back peddled on the amount of houses being built they never keep to their word, we need more social housing..

By Anonymous

@ Anon 6.01pm,why shouldn’t people with a little wealth be able to live in classy surroundings. If I had a bit of money I wouldn’t want to be living near social rented housing or disruptive neighbours.
Liverpool always wants to dumb down instead of aspiring to greater things.

By Anonymous

Walked round there today and was very impressed. We haven’t had such great high level views of the estuary since the garden festival site was in full swing. The landscaping is also impressive and is well thought out. The whole site looks much bigger than it is because the edges are blurred with the Festival Gardens – with paths taking you straight from one to the other – as well as with Otterspool to the south, and of course the riverside promenade.

By Pool of Life

There are still many many affordable houses in the region, anybody in full employment can afford to buy.

By Gilly

I visited there today its truly amazing the transformation is incredible well done

By Shaundonno

In order to build the new development the construction company wrecked acres of nesting ground and already existing wild park. The festival gardens are neglected, and there are plenty of derelict buildings in south Liverpool. Southern Grassland is a cover up for blatant opportunity for developers to earn some money, without any concern for wildlife or people of Liverpool. It’s ridiculous to dress it up as something else. If the council cared for biodiversity the existing park would be maintained and construction work would focus on brown space, not destruction of potential flood planes.

By Lora

‘Decades of private sector failure’?? Would that be because land values are so low that stumping up £40m on remediation was unviable? And would those land values be low because the private sector withdrew from Liverpool during years of political posturing? And what about the public sector’s inability to do even the basics, like mow the city’s parks and green spaces? I’d suggest Mr Rotherham encourages the public sector to get its own house in order before lobbing bricks at a private sector that takes risks his entire careers shows he is unwilling or unable to take himself.

By Anonymous

@ Lora, that’s got to be a wind up, you have covered most of the points that’s make Liverpool a laughing stock ie don’t like profits, blocking development due to the presence of imagined wildlife,ruination of a flood plain, really, and then claiming it is destruction of parkland when previously it was brownfield as a tip and part of the cast iron shore.

By Anonymous

Can Place NW please ban any moaning minnie that says ‘we need affordable housing for ordinary folk’. Even the most cursory glance of Rightmove shows dozens of perfectly pleasant homes for sale in Liverpool from as little as £12,500. Granted, they may be in Everton or Kirkdale, but so what? I started my journey on the housing ladder in the north end and it didn’t kill me.

What the city lacks is more executive homes that fall into the higher council tax bands, because right now we have too few and so the tax burden falls on lower income households. Even Joe Anderson recognised this, hence his desire to get as much of south Liverpool built on as possible.

By Anonymous

The soil is full of bricks, slabs and glass. A top soil should have been put on top of it all before just throwing on some wild seed and grass. It is a mess and will look terrible after 6 months. It is needs looking at again before grass covers these hazards.

By Anonymous

No toilet facilities.

By Jethro Bodine

To those who approved the end result please take a look over the site carefully to and note the waste bricks and concrete on the surface. Note the lack of topsoil allowing just wild flowers and grass to fight for survival. It needs the site clearing and topsoil adding. The basic concept is good with the paths and seating but the finish is poor take a walk around and see for yourself.

By Anonymous

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