Liverpool City Council has launched the search for an operator to manage Croxteth Hall and its 500-acre country park, in a five-year, £4.5m deal.
Liverpool City Council has published an OJEU notice today, to find a partner to manage the historic estate on behalf of the authority.
The tender, which would see the hall and Liverpool’s only country park remain open to the public, aims to secure new investment, increase activities and visitor numbers, to save the council £1m a year in running costs
Bids will be overseen by a panel including the Friends of Croxteth Park, Croxteth Hall volunteers and the West Derby Society, alongside council officers and elected members.
Liverpool City Council has already undertaken a soft marketing exercise to gauge interest, and is looking to undertake a staged procurement process leading to a winning bidder.
The new contract commencement is currently estimated as February 2018 with the operator taking over the management of the estate from this date.
The estate covers more than 500 acres, and features the grade two-listed hall, Croxteth Home Farm, a Victorian walled garden and the park itself, which is Liverpool’s largest. The estate had been the stately home of the Molyneux family, the Earls of Sefton, since 1575, but has been in public ownership since 1972.
The tender will not affect a £3.5m plan by Myerscough College, which provides further education to local young people on the site, to create a new animal and equine centre on the former grounds maintenance depot. Home Farm will also continue to be operated by the Neighbourhood Services Company.
Signature Living boss Lawrence Kenwright has already been vocal in his plans to bid for the contract, proposing the delivery of a hotel and glamping on the site.
Cllr Steve Munby, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said: “Croxteth Hall and Country Park is a jewel in Liverpool’s crown and we need to get the management of its future absolutely right.
“This a very complex estate containing multiple dwellings, covenants and leases with a whole raft of conditions limiting what can and cannot be done.
“Those interested parties who are looking to submit a bid are going to need a lot of time to understand the inner workings of the estate and what the stakeholders are looking for to ensure their proposed business plan is workable and deliverable.
“I look forward to working with the stakeholders in Croxteth Park on this process and we are determined to find a sustainable solution for the estate, and take care to get it right.”