Liverpool City Council has pulled out of plans to turn Croxteth Hall and Park into a hotel and wedding venue and instead plans to transform it into a major tourist attraction.
Croxteth Hall was originally built in 1575 and is the former country estate of the Molyneux family, the Earls of Sefton. After the death of the last Earl in 1972, the estate passed to Liverpool City Council, which now manages the remaining land and buildings.
The council had requested companies to bid to run the estate, with Signature Living submitting a proposal to turn it into a wedding venue and hotel. However, the city has decided against outsourcing the operation and instead plans to invest in the property to turn it into a tourist attraction and event site.
A report to the council’s cabinet is expected to recommend a major repair programme for the Grade II listed house as well the development of income-generating measures. The estate currently receives in excess of 600,000 visitors a year.
Proposals for generating further income could include new hospitality provision, putting on more frequent events such as concerts, markets and fairs, and expanding on the current wedding market at the property.
Councillor Steve Munby, cabinet member for city services, told the Liverpool Echo: “Croxteth Hall and Country Park is the unpolished jewel in this city’s crown and it has become increasingly clear that the economic case for the council to retain the estate, invest in its offer, build a team and promote the events was the approach that made the most sense.
“Our focus now is to explore and develop the exciting opportunities to expand the attraction of numerous spaces around the estate whilst providing the amenities visitors expect when visiting a country house estate of this stature.”
Croxteth Hall currently costs around £1m ($1.4m) a year to run but only generates £600,000 ($840,000) of income.
Within the estate are five main attractions including a 202-hectare country park, the Historic Hall, Croxteth Home Farm and the Victorian Walled Garden where visitors can explore Liverpool’s historic botanical collection. It also features one of Liverpool’s oldest public buildings, West Derby Courthouse, which dates from the Elizabeth I reign.
For younger visitors, there is an adventure playground, miniature railway and an orienteering trail.
Image: c. Visit Liverpool.