Southern Grasslands, a unique 24-acre recreational area, has been created as a result of a massive remediation programme to lay the groundwork for a potential new housing scheme at the nearby Festival Gardens development zone.
It is the largest transformed green space to open in Liverpool in the twenty-first century, nearly five times the size of Chavasse Park in Liverpool ONE.
Over the last two years, over 400,000 cubic metres of soil and waste have been removed from the Festival Gardens development zone, which had previously served as a public waste deposit facility for over 30 years.
Over 95% of this material has been recycled, including 100,000 cubic metres of earth that will become an eco-haven for wildlife.
The radically redesigned green space, which now rises more than 30 feet to provide views of the city centre and the River Mersey, also includes more than 5,700 new trees and shrubs, as well as 2 kilometres of walking paths near the shoreline.
Planting has included the establishment of new areas of woodland and meadow in order to create new habitats and increase biodiversity in this unique coastal environment. Wildlife corridors are being built to increase the population of insects, butterflies, and bees.
Southern Grassland, which is only a ten-minute walk from St Michael’s train station, also has a number of new public benches and picnic tables. People will also have dedicated paths to the Festival Gardens park for the first time since it was famously opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1984 as part of the International Garden Festival as part of the ambitious redesign.
VINCI Building, the Council’s principal contractor, began work in early 2021 to dramatically transform the former landfill site and Southern Grasslands.
The massive excavation project, which has been nominated for a national Brownfield Award, has also included an additional £6 million in ground infrastructure works to lay drainage and build a substation to supply power to the future development.
The package of works has been jointly funded by Liverpool City Council, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, Homes England and OFGEM.
Access to the revitalised site is also now possible via Riverside Drive, which now features Liverpool’s first ‘sparrow crossing,’ allowing cyclists and pedestrians to cross the road using separate lanes.
Access from the riverfront, on Otterspool Promenade, has also been improved with new resurfacing, railings, and art installations, providing pedestrians and cyclists with an improved entrance into the Festival Gardens site.
A new car park also serves Southern Grasslands, making it accessible to people with mobility issues.
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:
“The Festival Gardens site holds a special place in the hearts of many Scousers, but it has been left to go to rack and ruin by decades of private sector failure. It is only through devolution, with a metro mayor working in partnership with Liverpool City Council that we can put that right.
“Our funding is helping to transform the Festival Gardens into a public asset once more and laying the groundwork for homes to be built. Rather than a forgotten wasteland playing home to dumping, this new grassland should be home to a thriving community of new homeowners.”