New hope for Toxteth on regeneration

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The areas around the reservoir are set to be made in to tree-lined boulevards © Cass Associates

Ambitious plans have been released to regenerate High Park Street Reservoir and its local area.The Grade II-listed reservoir, set in the heart of Toxteth, has been empty for the past 15 years.

Cass Associates, a Liverpool-based architecture and landscape planning business is behind the masterplan to redevelop the area.

Richard Cass, founding partner of Cass Associates, told JMU Journalism: “The reservoir’s been sat there effectively redundant for about 20 years or so now so it obviously doesn’t make any contribution to the area at all.”

The aims are to make the neighbourhood more attractive for locals as well as to bring in new investment in to the region.

The company plans to turn High Park Street in to a tree-lined boulevard with a new shared public space outside the reservoir and Town Hall. They also want to use derelict space for new housing and car park for future and current business development.

For the reservoir itself, Cass Associates proposed to use the rooftop to produce local vegetation as well as create a ‘rooftop retreat’ for local people to visit. Importantly, they also plan to use solar panels on the roof of the structure to generate solar energy.

Longer term, they aim to remove part of the reservoir roof in order to create a large open courtyard for craft fairs, open markets, music and dance events and group activities and functions.

Cass Associates is currently looking for sources of funding and partnership in order to make these plans and consequently the area, come to life. They recently opened up the reservoir for people to have a look around and to generate some interest in the project.

Richard Cass said: “Most people, generally speaking, can’t really go inside it and it’s not until you go inside it or possibly on the roof that you realise what an exciting opportunity it is.”

However, Cass thinks this is not just a one-off project for Toxteth, he sees it as something much greater.

High Park Street reservoir © Cass Associates

He said: “We see it not just as a project on its own but as a means to a wider regeneration initiative and we think that’s very important that it shouldn’t just be seen as a single building project but it should actually be used as a catalyst to some much wider improvements over a much wider area.

“There is quite a lot of land surrounding the reservoir which is just disused land and buildings and they do cause serious blight and of course they don’t create any benefits for anybody.

“So the plans that we’ve drawn up take a look at the whole area and we’ve come up with a strategy for taking the whole area forward with the reservoir as the focal point.”

With Liverpool City Council recently pulling out of a £25m regeneration project in the area, perhaps things are finally looking up for Toxteth.

About Madelaine Cornforth, JMU Journalism