Liverpool picks Festival Gardens team
Metropolitan Workshop, Shedkm, Mace and Montagu Evans will prepare a development brief as the council looks to bring forward a 28-acre neighbourhood next to the site.
Once the development brief is complete, Liverpool City Council will seek to appoint a development partner for the waterfront plot – just three miles south of the city centre, it has long been on the city’s wish-list. Ion was appointed in 2018 before plans foundered.
The new development partner search is expected to launch in autumn 2024, for a neighbourhood that has been estimated at around 1,500 homes.
Following the appointment of a developer, work on the planning application for a housing scheme, with community facilities, will begin in 2025.
The multidisciplinary team in full:
- Metropolitan Workshop – an architect, urban planning and design firm which has recently worked with the University of Liverpool.
- Shedkm – architecture studio with vast experience in the region and beyond, with a project roster including work on Liverpool’s Ten Streets masterplan.
- Mace – international consultancy and construction company.
- Montagu Evans – property consultancy currently helping to deliver 17,000 homes across the UK.
As reported by Place North West in June, the design brief contract is worth £486,000.
The two-year long remediation of the development zone – once a public waste deposit facility for more than 30 years before hosting the International Garden Festival in 1984 – has just won a national brownfield award, recognising a major excavation and subsequent re-use to create the 24-acre Southern Grasslands park.
Off Riverside Drive, the park opened in August, having seen 100,000 cubic metres of soil removed from the Festival Gardens site.
Led by principal contractor Vinci, the project features more than 5,700 new trees and shrubs, as well as 2km of walking paths. The excavation programme also includes an additional programme of ground infrastructure works to lay drainage and construct a substation to provide power supply for future development.
The package of works has been jointly funded by Liverpool City Council, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, Homes England and OFGEM.
The project is being led by the council’s development and major projects team, part of the City Development Directorate.
Cllr Nick Small, Liverpool City Council’s cabinet member for growth and economy, said: “The development zone at Festival Gardens is a once in a generation opportunity – and we’re at a very critical stage in how its next chapter is shaped.
“The remediation of the site has been a monumental piece of work and has deservedly won national acclaim. The standard and quality of that work has already left a great legacy in the form of the Southern Grasslands.
“Now we need to maintain that level of quality in how we set out the parameters for the development zone and I’m delighted we’ve appointed a respected and experienced team of experts to help inform that process.
“The development brief will be key to understanding what can be delivered at this prime waterfront site and how. It’ll also help mould our decision in who we select as a development partner.
“This process will take time and I know everyone in the area has been very patient as we work to get this scheme into a viable and deliverable position. The good news is we’re at the start now of turning the vision into reality.”
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “Festival Gardens holds a special place in the hearts of many in our area, but decades of private sector failure have left it in desperate need of ambitious regeneration. Fortunately, having a Metro Mayor work in partnership with Liverpool City Council means that we’re already starting to put that right and make a real, positive difference.
“Our funding is helping to transform the Festival Gardens into a public asset once more and laying the groundwork for new homes to be built. Rather than a forgotten wasteland playing home to dumping, this new grassland should be home to a thriving community of new homeowners.”