LRT Gives Boost for Residents of Most Deprived Area of England

25 August 2005

An iconic regeneration project of the past is being revived by the Land Restoration Trust (LRT) to improve the lives of people living in England’s most deprived area.

An iconic regeneration project of the past is being revived by the Land Restoration Trust (LRT) to improve the lives of people living in England’s most deprived area.

The once glorious site of Liverpool Garden Festival, which has been left derelict for 20 years, took a step closer to being restored to its former glory this week, as site developers Langtree/McLean announced a partnership with the LRT. The Trust and Langtree/McLean will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) setting out a framework for the future of the site. The LRT will be responsible for the green elements of the scheme - a total 27 hectares that will be maintained as a vital green resource for the people of Liverpool. Crucially the LRT will manage the site long term, therefore preventing the site becoming derelict - again.

An important part of the MOU agreement is a commitment to consulting the local community at all stages both during the development and into the future. comments, "Liverpool is the most deprived area in the country according to the English Index of Multiple Deprivation and the Garden Festival is located within an disadvantaged part of the city. Restoring the site is going to have an enormously positive effect on the people in the local community. Access to properly managed green spaces brings much more benefit to a local community than just a better view, it has been proven to improve health, reduce crime, increase social well being, improve environmental quality and reduce pollution."

Euan Hall, Chief Executive of the Land Restoration Trust, comments, "Liverpool is the most deprived area in the country according to the English Index of Multiple Deprivation and the Garden Festival is located within an disadvantaged part of the city. Restoring the site is going to have an enormously positive effect on the people in the local community. Access to properly managed green spaces brings much more benefit to a local community than just a better view, it has been proven to improve health, reduce crime, increase social well being, improve environmental quality and reduce pollution."

The 1984 International Garden Festival, the first of its kind in Britain, was a huge success attracting millions of visitors. The Garden Festival was built on a site in the old south docks. Much of the site was derelict and needed to be cleared of industrial waste before the landscaping for the festival could commence. The Festival contained more than sixty individual gardens, a Festival Hall, public pavilions and even a miniature railway, which toured the site. It also included a Pathway of Honour recognising Liverpool stars including Cilla Black, Ken Dodd, and Nerys Hughes.

Euan continues, " The mistake was not the festival itself, which spectacularly successful, but the fact that beyond the initial development there were no plans or funding for the site. Millions of pounds were spent transforming a derelict dock site - into a magnificent garden festival. However, 20 years of slow decline later the site languishes derelict and yet again we have an eyesore. As Deputy PM John Prescott alluded to when he launched the LRT in 2004, the Liverpool Garden Festival is a classic example of why the Land Restoration Trust is needed."

The Land Restoration Trust is an organisation, which provides long-term management and funding solutions for reclaimed derelict sites, effectively acting as a National Trust type organisation for green spaces. Therefore ensuring that once a site, such as the Garden festival, has been developed for community it is retained in perpetuity as a valuable resource for them. The Trust will fund managing agents for the Garden Festival, to be appointed in late September, who will work at a local level to ensure that the community’ wishes are met.