What will happen to the Festival Gardens site and the development on the
Rumours abound about the future of the Garden Festival
site and the planned development scheme. Watch this space for confirmed
On the 10 July the Secretary of State announced the go-ahead
for plans for a property development on the Festival Gardens site in Liverpool.
The Inspector’s Report, from the Public Inquiry into the Langtree
McLean scheme, states that “overall, the effect of the proposed
scheme on the character and appearance of the whole promenade would be
harmful”. What may be significant are the report's recommendations,
including requirements for the new Festival Park to be completed and open
first and to only remove trees immediately before building on woodland.
Save the Festival Gardens Campaign announced, “The
Secretary of State’s decision to give the go-ahead for a series
of huge apartment blocks on the waterfront – and for the cutting
down of 10 acres of waterfront woodlands – is clearly a terrible
disappointment to us all and a disastrous decision for the future of Liverpool’s
prom” and "on many individual points the Inspector has agreed
with the campaign’s objections to the development". See Garden
Festival Campaign web site for further information.
Liverpool City Council are aware of the dramatic impact
the buildings will have over the Promenade and to the massive tree loss
caused by the Langtree's plans in developing the site. But LCC are committed
to urbanising this Green Wedge area, as a way of dealing with the Garden
Festival land and for the creation of a new private park available to
the public. In the past, LCC have been unable to enforce the maintenance
conditions of their lease for this land.
LCC is supporting plans for a row of 7 apartments to tower
above Otterspool Promenade's coastal pathway with it's extensive grass
embankment and sheltered wooded bund. This area is reported to be one
of the best picnic spots and a highly valued public amenity on the banks
of the River Mersey nearest to central Liverpool. more below
Liverpool Football Club's American owners are in financial
difficulties and there is no news of plans for a scaled-down version of
a new stadium on the public park at the beginning of October 08.
The pubic football grounds on the site of the new stadium's
"big field" continue to attract amateur football games on the
park. However, the public sports centre has been demolished.
The regeneration of the remaining listed Stanley Park is
now underway with the recent demolishment and excavation of the original
Palm House - the Gladstone Conservatory. The area around the Walled Garden
and Palm House is now fenced off to the public.
Housing between Stanley park and LFC's existing stadium
have been cleared. Beyond Stanley Park, large areas of the Anfield housing
terraces, rising from LFC's ground to the former Dixie Dean Memorial Playing
Fields, are gradually going through a process of "clearance and regeneration".
The site of the Dixie Dean Memorial Playing Fields in Everton is now a
building site for a new private/public academy school.
U-boat given public space by
Woodside Ferry in Birkenhead
Largest complete German WWII submarine U-532 was cut into
sections at Birkenhead Docks at the end of February. It was moved to the
former car-park site alongside Woodside (Mersey Ferry) Terminal during
March and is planned to become a major new public tourist attraction on
the Wirral side of the river. The new site is not long enough for the
entire length of the U-boat and glazed sections will be displayed in a
Liverpool International Biennial
Road-side land transformed with rotating trees at the top
end of Greenland Street near Upper Parliament traffic lights - trees are
not always spinning.
The Pavilions project takes the form of three large-scale,
temporary creative spaces in the Liverpool neighbourhood's of Kirkdale,
Garston and Kensington. Each community has followed a very different approach
to their site, working collaboratively with artists and architects from
abroad to embed their individual needs and aspirations into the spaces.
Rotunda College in Vauxhall are working with Landscape Architects GROSS
Max on designs to convert a strip of derelict land outside their building
into a community garden. Tended by community groups throughout the year
creating an environment for the whole community to enjoy. The gardens
will be open from 28 April.
Metal in Kensington invited Columbian artists to design a transformation
of the disused approach to Edge Hill Station. This Pavilion will launch
together with Metal’s new programme on 3 May.
Garston Cultural Village will stage a ‘Cultural Revolution’
as the declaration of the Artistic Republic of Garston on 31 May. Focused
on the Wellington Street School building temporary becoming The Garston
For more information contact Kerenza Hines on email@example.com
Liverpool Football Club - back
to the drawing board for Stanley Park
Further plans for Liverpool Football Club's new stadium
and the future of Anfield's historic listed park will be presented to
Liverpool Council's planning committee in the coming months. At the end
of January American owners announced that the club will be taking on £3.5M
of debt and repayment costs have meant scaled down plans for an "efficient"
new stadium design. These plans do not include an underground car park
- whether this means more of the grassed park will be taken over by car
parking remains to be seen. The playing fields on publicly owned Stanley
Park will be available for amateur football and dog walkers for a while
Inquiry for Festival Gardens scheme
For 4 weeks a Public Inquiry in Liverpool has been listening
to evidence on plans for a large scale building scheme on the land of
the first International Garden Festival site. Closing statements were
delivered on 11 January.
The main issues for Our Ground relate to the impact of
the development on Otterspool Promenade, loss of public open space, threat
to green space along the undeveloped coastal zone, threat to nature conservation
and the sustainability of a new private park available to the public.
Presenting evidence in support of the development were
Langtree McLean Ltd, Liverpool City Council and Councillor John Coyne.
The Save the Garden Festival Campaign presented evidence against the urbanisation
Pictures, including the one at the top of this page, were
presented as evidence at the inquiry. Shown for the first time in public
these demonstrated the physical and visual impact of Finger Blocks on
the Promenade. The accuracy of the images were not disputed but local
newspapers and PR material do not illustrate this part of the development.
Langtree's statement added, "Even if it is accepted that there
will be some adverse impact through the construction of the Finger Blocks
this has to be balanced against the overall benefits of the development
of the Park and the restoration of the site as a whole".
Silken voiced Stephen Sauvain QC represented the developers
Langtree McLean. He is the region's leading expert on planning law and
has much experience in conducting public inquiries - he was Inspector
for the Dixie Dean inquiry
in 2007. His witnesses were all working professionals employed by
Langtree. He pointed out that, "There is no policy requirement
in Liverpool to provide any level of affordable housing".
Liverpool City Council were represented by the barrister,
Alan Evans, who called witnesses employed by the City Council but mostly
left questioning to Mr. Sauvain.
John Coyne, Councillor for St Michaels Ward in Liverpool,
was mainly concerned with traffic issues and called no witnesses. However,
he raised personal safety issues regarding Priory Wood, also leased by
McLean. He also stated, "I have admitted a failure in not thinking
about consulting users of the Promenade" and "..about
diminished amenity due to the closeness of the tall blocks to the waterfront".
David Morton represented the Save the Garden Festival Campaign
who, like many witnesses in preparing evidence for the Campaign, lost
income by dedicating time and work for free. Seven issues were outlined
in the Campaign's closing statement:
•Serious concerns over the new Park's sustainability
with inadequate maintenance funding - the proposed Park is the key justification
for the development.
•Building on a strategic Green Wedge along the undeveloped coastal
•Impact of the Finger Blocks on the Promenade with loss of 10
acres of woodland.
•Failings in nature conservation - lack of consultation with local
wildlife & ecology experts.
•Development conflicts with LCC's stated Housing Policy.
•Serious transport issues with impact of development and no adequate
•Contamination problems on the site with LCC having no registry
of land-fill sites.
The Inquiry Inspector will write a concluding report for
the Secretary of State who will decide on the plans by mid July. more
Millbank Playing Fields
Parts of Millbank Playing Fields are now a building site
for a privatised building scheme. more
Sefton Park Restoration
Work started in mid February to restore Sefton Park and
is planned to finish within this year. A contractor's compound has been
setup in the Farm Field, opposite the Palm House, and this area and path
near the Greenbank end will be closed to the public for the year. Silt
from the waterways will also be stored in the compound.
Work will be carried out in sections starting at the northern
waterways, progressing to the boating lake and then the eastern area.
Only one of these sections will be closed at any one time. Building work
on a new cafe and kiosk, along with restoring statues and other features,
is scheduled to take place this year.
The Friends of Sefton Park hold Sunday afternoon meetings
in the Old Police Station on Lark Lane about once a month.
Comment - a brief history of Stanley Park
In 1865 work started to build two green parks for the people of Liverpool
- Sefton Park and Stanley Park. In 1871 Stanley Park, in Anfield, was
opened with ornamental walls, large stone shelters, bowling greens, sculptures,
fountains, lakes and bridges. Described by Pevsner as "One of the
best mid Victorian parks, not only in Liverpool but of the whole North".
By the 1980's park maintenance was drastically cut. The Gladstone Conservatory,
erected in 1900, was leased as a pub for a few years and then, like other
buildings in the park, rapidly became derelict.
Through the efforts of "The Friends of Stanley Park" a programme
of restoration started with the help of English Heritage lottery funding.
But before work was completed Liverpool City Council and Liverpool Football
Club announced their intentions to build a new stadium on this grade II
listed Victorian park and funding for remaining restorations was withdrawn.
In 2000 Council leaders held a public meeting in Anfield and plans for
a stadium to be built on the park were overwhelming condemned and subsequent
ballots of local people also rejected the plans to build on the park.
Regardless of local public opinion the Council and LFC were determined
that a new stadium project went ahead. In February 2007 the football club
was taken over with the promise of financing a new futuristic stadium.
By November the go-ahead was given to build an enormous American style
stadium to stretched the width of the park - nearly a third of Stanley
Park. Further landscaping plans were agreed to radically change the character
of the remainder of the park - all designed for the efficient flow of
In 2008 the club owners revealed financial problems. An "efficient"
new stadium design will now be presented to the City Council. These plans
may take up a larger proportion of the park.
At the beginning of June 2008 plans appear to be on hold and the site
still functions as a grassed playing field area within the park.
If such a large scale private urbanisation scheme can take place in
one of Liverpool's most celebrated public parks then no other public space
in Liverpool or elsewhere is safe from private building developments.
Planning authorities are responsible for the creation of huge amounts
of wealth especially when they "gift" publicly owned open space.
Parks and playing fields are very profitable options. The principal beneficiaries
are nearly always property developers. more
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The production of photographs used on this site is part
of work in progress by John
Davies and is supported by the Arts Council England North