Festival site housing plan extended

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© International Garden Festival, the gardens reopened to the public this year

A developer is set to be give an additional two-and-a-half years to start work on a housing development on the former International Garden Festival site in South Liverpool.

The derelict site, which is situated on Riverside Drive in Otterspool, will be the location for 1,374 new houses across 26 residential blocks, as well as a number of retail and commercial units.

Liverpool City Council is set to grant the extension to deal on Friday, which will give developers Langtree two 150-year leases for the site.

Rejecting the plans would mean that although Langtree would not be able to build on the site, they would still have all control of it.

The Otterspool development was delayed in 2008 due to the recession and the collapse of Langtree’s then partner, David McLean Holdings.

Langtree continued its work on the 90-acre site and the former festival gardens were opened to the public this year.

The £250 million regeneration project will consist of a new public park, which will include restoring 27 hectares of the original Oriental garden areas to their former glory.

The report which is expected to be approved this week, reveals Langtree has already been given two extensions to begin building on the site.

A council report says: “Having completed the gardens, Langtree are now moving ahead with marketing the development site to house builders, but they accept that in the current economic climate it will be very difficult to find purchasers for this very challenging site.

“Langtree want to be able to offer developers as long a lease as possible, and therefore have requested that the council agrees to defer the deadline for completing the surrender and renewal of the lease for up to three years.”

Under an agreement in the contract, the council will receive 40% of all profits made from the sold houses. The company will not pay for the leases, but the deal obliges Langtree to provide a grant to cover future site maintenance.

Langtree said: “The committee report simply seeks authority to update the legal agreements already in place between Langtree and the council. We are currently under way with site investigation works to advance the residential development. Both Langtree and the city council wanted the legal agreements to accurately reflect the same.”

About Emma Kemmery, JMU Journalism