Thousands of people have had their say on the future of one of Liverpool’s most historic buildings.
Following a five-week public consultation which launched in August, 3,791 people took part to have their say on different options to generate income for the city council owned Croxteth Hall and Country Park.
It costs more than £1 million each year to maintain the Hall and the green spaces that surround it, and with increasing financial pressures, the city council is exploring any potential commercial opportunities to bring in much-needed money which would be directly reinvested in the venue.
The majority of people who filled in the survey (95 per cent) were from the city and 59 per cent of those are regular visitors. The results show:
- Around 52 per cent of people who responded say they use the park to exercise, and the second most popular reason is to spend time with family and friends.
- 68 per cent of people told us they are in favour of the introduction of an environmentally friendly car park, which could see elements like grass track being used to protect greenspaces from damage. They would also be happy to pay a nominal parking fee.
- For general parking, if fees were introduced, then £2 per visit received the most support. Spending £5 to park for an event was also considered acceptable.
- The most popular current facilities are the toilets and the on-site café/coffee van.
- Potential new commercial activities were welcomed across the board, with residents telling us they like the ideas of food and artisan markets, crazy golf, outdoor climbing, a miniature railway and a new café/bistro.
- More benches, new picnic areas, information noticeboards, dog walking guidelines and a review of opening times were other improvements that those surveyed would welcome.
- A suggested subscription to ensure the upkeep of the Victorian Walled Garden was not popular, with 2,119 not welcoming the idea.
The most mixed reaction came from the question asking whether a Pet Crematorium would be a good idea. It was almost an even split between those in favour (37 per cent), those against (34 per cent) and those unsure (29 per cent).
As part of the survey, people were also asked to share their memories of the Hall and park. Responses included:
“The first time I visited as a child I thought I was in the countryside. I couldn’t believe that it was just a few miles from home in the city. Whenever I’m in the park now, I can’t help but wonder at how lucky we are to have such a gem on our doorstep.”
“My walks during lockdown around the amazing park saved my mental health and were the brightest spot in my day. I loved finding new routes to take that I hadn’t realised were there!”
“As a child I loved playing football in the park and exploring the wooded areas, it always felt like an adventure cycling to the park with friends.”
“Around 30 years ago on one summer evening we wandered into a field – I was with my dad and my older brother, on our adventure we were met by a very angry bull who charged at us, we had to scramble and wait up a tree until he calmed down and wandered off, once we were in the clear we jumped down and ran away as soon as we could!”
“Happy memories with my daughter and late husband, late mum and late dog, soaking up the sunshine, walking round the hall and walled garden and having picnics in the park after visiting the estate farm.”
“My late husband and I got married in the Library on 3 April 1999. Even when his dementia deteriorated his memory, we would come here and he could remember our wedding day. Sadly he died in 2010, we now take part in the Memory Walk for him. Croxteth Hall and Park will always be our “happy place”.”
The results of the survey will now be fully explored, evaluated and costed up based on available funding to establish if they can be adopted. It will form part of the future strategy for Croxteth Hall and Country Park.
Further engagement work with residents will take place focusing specifically on the introduction of the pet crematorium.
The full results will be published on the city council’s official consultation page.
This consultation is part of Liverpool City Council’s commitment to engage residents in key Liverpool decisions.