Rubbish from household tip used to create new green space near Liverpool’s old Garden Festival site

Drone footage of the site courtesy of Christian Smith.

Tonnes of soil and rubbish from a former landfill site are being used as the foundations for a new recreational area in Liverpool.

The waste has been covered to create a green space which rises 30 feet above the city’s historic waterfront.

More than 400,000 cubic metres of material has been moved from land that was used as a public waste deposit facility for more than 30 years and is earmarked for potential development.

Cllr Laura Robertson-Collins, from Liverpool City Council, said: "The opening of the Southern Grasslands is a watershed moment in both the story of our famous Festival Gardens site and in Liverpool’s journey to tackle climate change."

Workers uncovered household waste and rubbish from more than 40 years ago - including the occasional musical instrument. Credit: Liverpool City Council

The new 24-acre recreational area was created as part of a remediation programme for a potential new housing scheme at the nearby former landfill site, once part of the International Garden Festival in 1984.

It is the largest transformed green space opened in Liverpool this century, and is almost five times as big as Chavasse Park in Liverpool One.

Situated just three miles south of the city centre, Southern Grasslands was officially opened by Mayor Steve Rotheram and Cllr Robertson-Collins, Liverpool's Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods.

More than 95% of the material has been recycled including 100,000 cubic metres of earth that has created what will become an eco-haven for wildlife.

The area, which offers views of the city centre and River Mersey, also features more than 5,700 new trees and shrubs as well as 2km of walking paths near to the shoreline. Cllr Robertson-Collins said, "This is the ultimate win-win.

"Liverpool is gaining not just a potential new housing scheme but a year-round recreational space which will also act as a huge new carbon sink and which will benefit our unique coastal bio-diversity for decades to come."

The nearby Festival Gardens were refurbished in 2011 Credit: PA

Work to dramatically transform the former landfill site and Southern Grasslands began in early 2021.

The mammoth excavation programme, which has been shortlisted for a national Brownfield Award, has also included an additional £6m scheme to lay drainage and construct a substation to provide power supply for the future development.

The Festival Garden development zone, which has lain dormant for more than 25 years, covers 28 acres of waterfront land.

A major housing scheme for up to 1,500 homes could begin in 2025 following the appointment of a developer and planning applications.

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “The Festival Gardens site holds a special place in the hearts of many Scousers, but it has been left to go to rack and ruin by decades of private sector failure. It is only through devolution, with a metro mayor working in partnership with Liverpool City Council that we can put that right.

“Our funding is helping to transform the Festival Gardens into a public asset once more and laying the groundwork for homes to be built. Rather than a forgotten wasteland playing home to dumping, this new grassland should be home to a thriving community of new homeowners.”