A new consultation has launched which is asking visitors to Liverpool’s Croxteth Hall and Country Park their views on ways to generate income from the historic site.
It costs more than £1 million each year to maintain the Hall and green spaces that surround it, and with increasing financial pressures on the city council, it is exploring any potential commercial opportunities which would bring in much-needed money which would be directly reinvested in the venue.
The survey will ask about why and how often you visit the country park and what facilities you use – for example the car park, the public toilets or the café – and what is an appropriate charge for guided tours.
With ambitions for the areas to stage more large-scale events in the future, respondents will be asked their views on the creation of a new large, environmentally friendly car park and how they would feel if a parking charge was introduced when events were taking place in the park.
The questionnaire will also look to gauge what sort of events visitors would like to see take place in the Hall and park – from markets and outdoor cinema showings through to festivals and a ride-along miniature railway offer.
An early scoping out project has also looked in to the feasibility of introducing a pet crematorium within the grounds of the park which would give a dignified farewell to a much-loved family pet. Those filling in the survey will be asked if this is a service they would use.
A team from the Hall will also be out and about in the park to capture the views of as many people as possible.
It will close at midnight on Monday 12 September and the findings will be released in early November.
The survey is completed anonymously and no identifying information is required.
Liverpool’s Assistant Mayor and cabinet member for culture and tourism, Councillor Harry Doyle, said:
“We know that Croxteth Hall and Country Park is one of the most popular green spaces in the city, but with the level of cuts we are facing we can’t continue to do everything we want to do to ensure it meets the high standards we have come to expect over the years.
“We need to look at a different approach which is exactly what this survey hopes to achieve – we want to know what people would be willing to pay for and how can we breathe new life into this Liverpool gem.
“I’d like to assure everyone that this is in not about bringing in a third party to operate or run the park. Quite simply, heritage is expensive – but from other examples we can see across the country we know commercialising certain aspects works and means that the money generated leads to the creation of better facilities and ambitious plans can be realised.
“The survey is open for a month and we would love to hear from as many people as possible, particularly those passionate about the area so that we can make informed choices moving forward.”
Head of City Assets, Angie Redhead, said:
“The people of Liverpool are passionate about Croxteth Hall and Park and have such an emotional connection with it. So many happy memories have been shared with us of childhood visits and those same people continue to visit to this day with their own children and grandchildren.
“But heritage assets such as Croxteth are notoriously expensive to maintain and the council has to find ways to generate income to help preserve and protect them so that future generations of families can continue to enjoy this gorgeous green space.
“There are some great examples around the country where historic homes have developed successful income generating ideas that complement rather than compromise their historic surroundings, and so giving a voice to the people who love this place is so important to help shape our thinking as we develop proposals in the beautiful and much loved Croxteth Hall.”