Last July, the hotel developer and operator announced plans to turn the historic mansion into a luxury hotel, spa, wedding and events venue after it was reported Liverpool City Council could no longer afford its costs.
Now it is understood the authority has decided to make a major investment in the site to turn it into an important tourist attraction. Proposals from another unidentified bidder were also rejected.
The council, which has recently announced a new commercial approach to its parks, is aiming to develop the former home to the Earls of Sefton, based along the National Trust model.
A report to Liverpool City Council’s cabinet will recommend the authority undergo a major repair programme to the Grade II listed house as well fund and develop a range of income generating measures.
These could include:
- New food, drink and hospitality provision
- Developing the current wedding market at Croxteth Hall
- Operating more frequent events including concerts, seasonal fairs and artisan markets
- Improve facilities for car parking for both day-to-day park users and those attending events
Signature Living, which had also pledged to provide £500,000 a year to the local community and create a hospitality training centre, described the council’s decision as “senseless”.
A spokesman for the company said: “Signature Living’s proposal for Croxteth Hall enjoyed widespread support from the local community.
“It is therefore disappointing that our vision to preserve the heritage of the building with a prestigious wedding venue, boutique hotel, and a small training centre that offered apprenticeships to young people as well as creating over 150 jobs, has been rejected.
“It is a senseless decision from Liverpool City Council who not so long ago were haemorrhaging around two and half million pounds a year on Croxteth Hall.
“Ultimately the council is answerable to local people so we wish them well in explaining their decision to deprive people of this major investment opportunity.”
Councillor Steve Munby, Cabinet Member for City Services, said: “On behalf of the council, the Hall’s Trustees and local community and voluntary groups I would like to thank the bidders for their time and effort.
“They provided detailed but very different proposals to operate the Hall and Park with both bids having different strengths and weaknesses.
“It was clear they had put considerable thought into how they could satisfy the complex challenges this unique concession required.
“I fully appreciate they will be disappointed not to be given the opportunity to manage the estate but this new commercialisation approach to our parks has negated the need for an external operator at Croxteth.
“Croxteth Hall and Country Park is the unpolished jewel in this city’s crown and it has become increasingly clear that the economic case for the council to retain the estate, invest in its offer, build a team and promote the events was the approach that made the most sense.
“Our focus now is to explore and develop the exciting opportunities to expand the attraction of numerous spaces around the estate whilst providing the amenities visitors expect when visiting a country house estate of this stature.”