We learned last week that the Mersey Forest is about to release a report which shows Liverpool to be one of the least-green cities in England. That parts of our city centre have more concrete and less green than anywhere in the UK. Look around you, the Commercial District is, save for those nicely lit trees on Derby Square, a tree/shrub/grass free zone. It’s all rather depressing. So it’s good to see initiatives like Blue-Green Liverpool. And, this week, we can all do our bit to support them.
If you, like us, fancy tending an allotment or growing space in Liverpool City Centre, this is your chance. Thanks to everyone that’s paid 5p for their plastic bags since October, Tesco is funding three city greening projects in Merseyside, including Blue-Green Liverpool’s My City Allotment, which will be located on vacant and underused land between Bold Street and the Baltic.
Elaine Cresswell, landscape architect and project manager of Blue-Green Liverpool explained: “We have secured £8,000 funding so start an allotment in Liverpool City Centre and we need votes for ‘My City Allotment’ in Tesco stores between now and 6th March to win up to £12,000.“
With £8,000 Blue-Green Liverpool plan to build the main allotment site and provide growing space, plants, water collection and storage. If they win first prize they will also be able to:
1) Plant fruit trees on walking routes to schools
2) Create horticultural therapy growing spaces for city centre organisations such as The Brink
3) Support food-based social enterprises and start-up businesses such as MY:CO organic mushroom growers and Nuts about Milk
4) Green our city centre with hanging gardens, climbers, sunflowers, strawberries and edible bulbs in grass verges
The idea for the allotment came about from Liverpool residents during Blue-Green’s urban design workshops, walks and DIY building projects on vacant land last year. “Throughout the project, people consistently told us that they wanted growing space in the city centre, they wanted plants and green space to be incorporated in existing and new developments, more access to the water in the docks and attractive walking routes linking existing green spaces,” Elaine explained. The My City allotment fulfills three of these desires.
The exact form of the ‘My City allotment’ will be influenced by the people that want the space and join at this stage. Elaine said “ We originally developed the idea for city centre residents and businesses who did not have outdoor space of their own, and have been quite overwhelmed by the additional level of interest from food based social enterprises, start up businesses, colleges and other organisations such as the Brink who have always wanted to offer horticultural therapy to their clients”
Elaine’s ambition is to expand the initial funded sites to provide a network of growing spaces and routes linking Bold Street to the Baltic, greening the grey spaces in our city, reducing the maintenance burden of mowing undevelopable verges and making temporary use of land awaiting development.
You can get in touch with Elaine at Elaine@bluegreenliverpool.org.uk if you want to be involved. Let’s start to regreen our city.