Liverpool City Council seeks operator
for Croxteth Hall and Park
A Europe wide search has been launched
to find an operator to manage Liverpool's Croxteth Hall and Country Park.
Liverpool City Council has published a tender with the European Journal (OJEU)
to find a partner to manage the historic estate on behalf of the authority.
The tender, which would see the Hall and Liverpool's only country park remain
open to the public, aims to secure new investment, increase activities and
visitor numbers and save the Council ₤1m a year in running costs.
Bids will be overseen by a panel including local stakeholders:- the Friends of Croxteth Park, Croxteth Hall Volunteers and the West Derby Society alongside
Council Officers and elected members.
Liverpool City Council, which has already undertaken a soft marketing exercise
to gauge interest, are looking to undertake a staged procurement process leading
to a winning bidder.
The new contract commencement is currently estimated as
February 2018 with the new operator taking over the management of the estate
from this date.
The estate, which covers just over 500 acres featuring the the Grade II* listed
Hall, Croxteth Home Farm, a Victorian Walled Garden and the Park itself;
Liverpool's largest, had been the stately home of the Molyneux family, the
Earls of Sefton, since 1575, but has been in public ownership since 1972.
The Hall and Country Park, which also accommodates:- an adventure playground,
Shop, aerial rope adventure course, Horse Riding Centre and Cafe, attracts in
excess of 600,000 visits a year and the Council has branched out to create
income by promoting the Hall, as a setting for things like:- weddings, film
exhibitions and concerts.
The tender will not affect a ₤3.5m plan by Myerscough College, who provide
further education to local young people on the site, to create a new Animal and
Equine Centre on the site of the former grounds maintenance depot. Home Farm
will also continue to be operated by the Neighbourhood Services Company (NSC).
Councillor Steve Munby, Cabinet Member for neighbourhoods, said:-
"Croxteth Hall and Country Park is a jewel in Liverpool's crown and we need to
get the management of its future absolutely right.
This a very complex estate containing multiple dwellings, covenants and leases
with a whole raft of conditions limiting what can and cannot be done.
Those interested parties who are looking to submit a bid are going to need a lot
of time to understand the inner workings of the estate and what the stakeholders
are looking for to ensure their proposed business plan is workable and
I look forward to working with the stakeholders in Croxteth Park on this process
and we are determined to find a sustainable solution for the estate, and take
care to get it right."
Councillor Peter Mitchell, Mayoral lead for parks, said:- "The
preservation of Croxteth Hall and Park as a public asset, with free public
access, is our number 1 priority and after years of searching for a partner we
are very close to securing a win win situation. The estate has been enjoyed by
millions of people for generations and holds a unique place in the City's heart,
so it is vital we have the voice of the community at our side when we come to
choosing the new stewards of this estate. We've been hugely encouraged by the
interest in the estate and we look forward to assessing exciting plans that will
breathe new life into one of Liverpool's finest crown jewels."
Stephen Guy, West Derby Society chairman, who will sit on the selection panel,
said:- "We hope this initiative can secure the future of Croxteth Hall.
Many parts of this historic building, dating from Tudor to Edwardian times, are
in urgent need of refurbishment. This is Liverpool's own stately home and has
enormous significance in its cultural history.
The Molyneux family were in Liverpool continuously for more than 900 years;
from the Norman Conquest to the 1970's. Hugh Molyneux, 7th and last Earl of
Sefton, left the people of Liverpool a wonderful legacy which we cherish.
The new partner must recognise the special place Croxteth Hall and Country Park
hold in the hearts and minds of our citizens."
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