LIVERPOOL’S Festival Gardens are a step closer to being transformed into an entirely new neighbourhood thanks to a Homes England grant of almost £10 million.
The council’s ambition is to build up to 1,500 family homes on the site as part of its redevelopment but says that until now the funding for crucial remediation work hasn’t been available.
Homes England has today announced a grant of £9.9 million to the city council to help prepare the site for residential development. The cash injection has come from the Government’s £450 million Local Authority Accelerated Construction (LAAC) programme.
“Festival Gardens is a much-loved waterfront location and people have very fond memories of spending time there,” said Liverpool’s mayor, Joe Anderson. “We are fully aware of the potential the Festival Gardens has and its transformation will be a game-changer for this city’s economy in terms of new homes, construction jobs and growth.
“Thanks to this funding, the council can start essential remediation works on site and move forward with the vision of creating a significant number of new family homes in South Liverpool at an iconic destination.
“Alongside this, we are testing feasibility for a leisure element on site – Festival Gardens will not only deliver a much sought-after housing development, but also a first-class visitor and cultural destination.”
Housing minister, Kit Malthouse MP, said: “Delivering the homes Liverpool needs is a crucial element of our plan to build a successful and vibrant Northern Powerhouse.
“I was born and brought up in Liverpool and went to the original garden festival as a child, so I know how much this investment will regenerate a key area of this great city, transforming Festival Gardens site with desperately needed family homes.”
The announcement has come as Homes England officially opens new offices in the same building as Liverpool City Region Combined Authority at Mann Island, Pier Head. The move is said to help the two organisations to collaborate more effectively to get homes built.
“We are determined to use all the resources available to us to make homes happen across England – so I’m thrilled our funding means work can move forward rapidly at this historic site, providing homes for hundreds of families,” said Sir Edward Lister, chair of Homes England. “And with Homes England and combined authority experts now working side by side, we expect to further accelerate the construction of new houses across the region.”
Work is now expected to begin at Festival Gardens in the spring, with the first new homes being available by 2022. As well as the homes built for owner occupation, the site will also include privately rented flats.
“I welcome today’s announcements from Homes England which demonstrate a real and ongoing commitment to the Liverpool City Region,” said the combined authority’s mayor, Steve Rotheram.
“I am particularly pleased to welcome the co-location of Homes England staff with the combined authority, which is the first arrangement of its kind in the country. Being physically based together in the same building will facilitate even closer joint working and present opportunities for further projects across the whole city region.”