Liverpool City Council has purchased the waterfront site of the former International Festival Gardens and is exploring redevelopment options including a possible waterpark.
According to the Liverpool Echo, the local authority is in talks with possible operators of a “water leisure destination” that could be built under “a worldwide media brand”. Both US and German firms are cited. The council claims the “world class” project could attract as many as two million visitors a year.
“Clearly the deliverability of this transformational facility will need to be explored in much more detail and to this end we have asked the operator to forward a more detailed business plan and project costs,” says a report prepared for the council.
The 90-acre site now known as Festival Park is located three miles from the city centre next to the River Mersey in Otterspool. Formerly a landfill, it was originally developed as a tourist attraction for the 1984 International Garden Festival, which operated for just six months but brought many people to the the British city. A 25-acre part of the site underwent a £3.7 million ($4.7m/€4.2m) refurbishment in 2011.
Liverpool City Council believes Festival Park presents a unique development opportunity for mixed-use regeneration. A 27-acre development zone at the northern end of the site has outline planning consent for a residential development with additional retail and leisure facilities.
The local authority has commissioned K2 Architects to produce a vision for the regeneration of the site. This calls for up to 2,500 homes in a range and mix of types. These will be served by shops, cafes, restaurants and other community facilities and potential cultural buildings. Reclaimed land might include a ferry terminal. The southern grasslands, meanwhile, offer opportunities for sport, recreation and nature conservation.
A public consultation was undertaken in late 2016, with a largely supportive response.
Work should start later this year on cleaning up the site so it can be used for homes and tourist attractions.
Download and view the masterplan document here.