Garden festival park ready in November

Langtree has instructed Tyneside-based Tolent Construction to complete final works on a £3.7m restoration of a 90-acre site in Liverpool.

Work on the site in Otterspool, where the International Garden Festival took place in 1984, hit delays following the collapse of the previous contractor, Kirkby-based Mayfield Construction, in July.

Langtree, owner and developer of the site, said work is expected to resume as early as this week with a new anticipated completion date now set for early November.

The project team also includes Planit-IE, as landscape advisors, and WCP Associates.

John Downes, Langtree managing director, said: "After the unfortunate developments surrounding Mayfield, it was imperative that we moved swiftly and decisively to find a new contractor that could deliver the quality of work the site deserves.

"Less than a month later, we are confident that we have found the right partner in Tolent, a contractor with whom we have worked successfully before and who shares our vision for the future of Festival Gardens.

"The public of Merseyside is understandably keen to explore the restored gardens and I can assure them that their patience will be rewarded in spectacular fashion."

Langtree announced in June this year that the first phase to regenerate the site was completed after work started in February 2010.

Four new bridges were created and installed, along with 2km of newly created pathways, 5.25m litres of water for 10 lakes, 5,000 decorative pagoda roof tiles sourced from China and the planting of more than five million wild flower seeds.

Much of the detail such as the yellow submarine, Japanese summer houses and ornaments from the festival 27 years ago had fallen victim to arson, vandalism and thieving.

One of the site's original features, the Japanese Garden, which stands alongside an oriental garden featuring a fully restored Chinese pagoda and Moon Wall, was restored with Japanese landscape architect Satoru Izawa flown in especially to oversee the work.

The Land Trust, working in association with Groundwork Merseyside, will deliver the ongoing long term management of the site. The North West Development Agency funded the restoration after an extended planning and consultation process.

The second phase of the project will see Langtree work with residential developers in bringing forward up to 1,374 new homes on 25 acres located on the area of the former festival hall dome.

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