Plans to beef up the visitor experience at the North Liverpool destination are to go before the council’s culture committee this week.
A report on Croxteth Hall, along with St George’s Hall and Liverpool Town Hall, has been prepared for the Liverpool City Council’s culture and visitor economy select committee, which meets tomorrow.
Croxteth Hall was moved into the city assets cluster, which includes venues that should provide a commercial return for LCC, from a more community-focused grouping in February 2020.
According to the report, improved marketing of Croxteth Hall since last year’s changes, including a surge of Instagram images, has contributed to the council’s keenness to make more of an asset that “many people feel emotionally attached to”.
An expression of interest document is to be circulated this month as an operator is sought for a new 60-cover café in the old stable yard, with LCC seeking a provider who can bring a “distinctive look and feel” to the space. Surveys estimate an annual lease of around £50,000.
The previous café operator departed in March 2020, with only stopgap interim providers stepping in since then to provide food & drink to visitors.
Further to the cafe, soft market testing has been undertaken to introduce a large-scale outdoor visitor experience/play area, with 11 expressions of interest received. A full tender will now take place.
The report added that a monthly farmers and makers’ market introduced and funded by LCC for an initial three months as a pilot has been a “huge success,” triggering a search for a third party operator to take on the market’s operation and associated costs.
All this will follow a series of physical improvements. For urgent structural works, £650,000 has been secured. The programme will start in September 2021, with completion expected in spring 2022.
A further £1.7m has been secured for further improvement works, which will include the reinstatement of the hall’s historic centrepiece, the Queen Anne Terrace, costing around £400,000.
The Croxteth Hall Stakeholder Group was set up earlier this year, including representation from National Museums Liverpool, the National Trust, Mersey Forest, Mersey River Trust, Myerscough College, ward councillors and hall volunteer groups.
The hall itself is grade two star listed, with parts dating back to the 16th century. The country park it sits in extends to 500 acres, and the attraction receives 600,000 visitors a year.