Liverpool Festival Gardens open after 'blood, sweat and tears'
3 July 2012
The newly-restored Liverpool Festival Gardens are open to the public again for the first time in almost 30 years, to the relief of site owner and developer Langtree who have been plagued by setbacks that delayed completion of the gardens by over a year.
The gardens, on the banks of the Mersey, are famous as the site of the International Garden Festival in the summer of 1984. Hailed as a 'five-month pageant of horticultural excellence', it drew 3.8 million visitors and highlights included more than 60 individual gardens, a Festival Hall, public pavilions and a miniature railway.
After over a decade of dereliction, a £4.5 million facelift has restored and replanted 10.5ha (26 acres) of the original Festival site, reinstating many features including two of the show's highlights, the Japanese and Chinese gardens, and water features including a large lake and waterfalls.
'It has taken a lot of goodwill and blood, sweat and tears to get to this point, but we expect everyone to be thrilled with the results,' said Euan Hall, chief executive of the charity The Land Trust which is managing the site.
The park was due to open last summer, but building firm Mayfield Construction went into administration weeks before completing the work. It was the second company to abandon the project after a previous development partner also collapsed in 2008. The opening was further delayed after the environmental charity chosen to run the site, Groundworks Merseyside, called in the receivers in February and could no longer take up the contract.
The Land Trust has now taken on management of the site itself, and is calling for volunteers to help with gardening on the site. If you would like to get involved, you can apply via the Festival Gardens website.