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Council moves closer to appointing managing agent for historic Bowring Park

by Cathy Sheel

Knowsley Council is one step closer to appointing a managing agent for Bowring Park to ensure its future sustainability and success.

The council is about to go into detailed talks with three organisations who have submitted bids to run the historic park and golf course, which has recently benefited from a major £3.7m renovation project.

The organisations involved in the talks are:
– Green Circle Estates Limited: a Merseyside company which specialises in rejuvenating municipal golf courses;
– Oneday Limited: a multi-disciplinary practice with expertise in the fields of culture, communities, property, retail and              regeneration;
– The Cass Foundation: a Liverpool-based charity whose mission is to improve people’s health by improving their                      environment.

These talks will focus on the future managing agent being able to deliver infrastructure development, community use and heritage conservation outcomes at the site. Read the Dialogue on Detailed Solutions Document.

The council will then ask each bidder to submit its final tender in December 2020 – with those tenders being considered by Knowsley Council’s Cabinet who will make a final decision in March 2021.

In recent years, major restoration and improvement works at Bowring Park have been made possible by a contribution of £1.8m by Knowsley Council, a grant of a £1.9m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, £25,000 from the Government Pocket Parks Fund, and £50,000 from the Enovert Community Trust.

In 2018, the council stepped in to save the employees from being made redundant whilst ensuring the popular golf course – one of the oldest municipal courses in the country – could continue to operate following the collapse of the private sector company that ran it, but this was always intended to be an interim measure.

In order to ensure its future success, the council decided to secure new management arrangements by seeking to appoint a new managing agent, to not only take on the responsibility for the golf course but for the whole of the Bowring Park site.

Cllr Shelley Powell, Knowsley Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods said: “We know how much our parks and open spaces matter to our communities and Bowring Park is a fantastic asset with the potential to attract visitors from across the City Region and beyond, whilst delivering real benefits for all parts of the local community.

“We are about to start talks with a number of like-minded, co-operative potential partners who possesses the commercial acumen, investment potential and pro-social/ environmental credentials we need to significantly move this project forward.

“This is a unique and exciting opportunity for us to secure the future of Bowring Park as a successful commercial venture and sustainable community asset.”

At the heart of the council’s aspirations is a desire to ensure that Bowring Park becomes a ‘place for all’ with a multi-functioning recreational space that the community can utilise to improve their own health and wellbeing.

Plans for the park include a new café, a community space, meeting facilities offices and a refurbished golf course as well as being able to offer unique events and heritage walks, build educational links with schools and colleges and create volunteering opportunities for the local community.