Work is to start on a new park following the opening up of an underground section of the River Alt at Croxteth.
The River Alt Restoration project has realigned the section of the river between the East Lancashire Road and Parkstile Lane. The new river channel will be at the heart of a half-mile long riverside park.
The restoration project is led by the Cass Foundation, a Liverpool-based charity, whose purpose is to improve people’s physical and mental health by enabling them to enjoy a healthy environment. The £1.5m funding has come from Liverpool City Council and the Department of Food and Rural Affairs, through the Environment Agency’s Catchment Restoration Fund.
A 300metre section of the river ran underground in a concrete culvert. It has now been deculverted by contractors William Pye – in a process also known as daylighting –to form a new 870 metre section of open river. They have used laser guided excavators to dig the new channel
The Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson visited the project on to view its progress and meet some of the people involved in it.
He said: “This is a very important scheme which is transforming the area. It will connect people living in Croxteth with the leisure, shopping and education developments which are taking place at Stonebridge Cross.
“Now that the engineering work is being completed we can move on to the creation of a new park which will help to improve the quality of people’s lives. This is a great example of where attractive new green spaces are being built in the city for the benefit of local people.”
Richard Cass, Chair of the Foundation, said: “This is a very exciting project for us, and it shows what can be achieved when people and organisations come together. We are delivering a range of important benefits, including improved water quality, reduced flood risk, new greenspace for people and wildlife, and a much improved environment which will help attract inward investment and jobs. Most importantly, we are working closely with local people, who are contributing huge interest and enthusiasm to the project.
“Together with improvements to the existing park, the project will make a real difference to people’s lives. Encouraging people to enjoy being outdoors, to take exercise and have fun, will make them healthier and happier. This is already happening through the work we are doing with local schools, in organising regular ‘walks-and-talks’ and other events, and setting up a friends group.”
With the main engineering works approaching completion, landscape and ecological works will be carried out over the next few months.
“This will be the 48th park we have in the city, “said Councillor Peter Mitchell, Mayoral Lead on Parks and Open Spaces. “It is going to be a vibrant green space which will enhance the local environment – it is going to be an area where people can experience a new walking and cycling route in very attractive surroundings.”
The work on the new river channel is also aimed at cutting the risk of flooding in the neighbourhood.
The open section of the River Alt
Mayor Anderson and Richard Cass at the River Alt restoration project
Pupils from Our Lady’s and S Swithin’s School greet the Mayor
A presentation to the Mayor
The new park will be open to the public from March next year but even before its opening it is planned to form a Friends group with the first meeting taking place on 1 October.
The establishment of the group is an indication of the local support for the scheme The Cass Foundation has been working closely with local groups, schools and residents in the area and in addition to the regular ‘walks and talks’ community activities include volunteers helping to clear the site and tree and wildflower planting later this year.