Liverpool Botanic Garden, Edge Lane
The long-delayed Edge Lane developments, constructing an Eastern Gateway to Liverpool by 2007 / 8, are about to start. What a pity, then, that the historic Wavertree Botanic Gardens located just by the intended new route (and initiated in 1803 by no less a person than William Roscoe) are in such a state of neglect.
Today (Monday 8 May 2006) is expected to see the first major initiative in the Edge Lane ‘Eastern Approaches’ development.
There have been many delays in getting this work done. Housing and other contested issues have kept the plans from becoming reality for many years; but this is not the time to rehearse those matters again.
So yesterday I decided to take a look for myself at the Botanic Gardens which were originated in 1803 by William Roscoe, near Abercromby Square in the city centre, and have since 1830 been situated alongside Edge Lane. Would there, I wondered, be a place of peace and tranquility in this under-recognised park, which might offer refuge from all the construction and inevitable chaos of the road works?
Nowhere to go?
Sadly, the Botanic Garden isn’t any more a place you’d want to visit. I saw several locked and chained entrances (only one way in or out), some scarily secluded corners, and many piles of shredded wood where shrubs had been – but no flowers. There’s a budding laburnum-arch walk (to another chained gate) which shows promise for later in the week, and a cherry tree lined path outside the walled garden, by the former Littlewoods Building. That, however, is about it.
Maybe Liverpool needs to look more to its green image as well as its brownfield regeneration. With all the current disruption, surely local people deserve somewhere nearby where they can take their families, relax and feel safe? Already, there is concern because the ‘step’ between the two sides of the highway is not expected to be evened out – which will mean that it continues effectively to be impossible for people north of the dual carriageway to reach their park. To say this seems short-sighted would be a kindness to those responsible.
Other cities such as Edinburgh (Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh: see photo right, and below *) and Birmingham show us how we could value plants and gardens.
Let’s hope we’ll value our green heritage too, by 2007/8. Otherwise, our expected visitors as we celebrate our 800th anniversary in 2007 and the European Capital of Culture 2008 will have to speed down the smart new Edge Lane past a sorely neglected vestige, rather than a wonderful living part, of our proud civic history.
* You can see another larger photo here: Early Summer In Edinburgh Botanic Gardens
Posted on May 8, 2006, in Liverpool And Merseyside, Regeneration, Renewal And Resilience, Sustainability As If People Mattered and tagged 1803, 1830, Botanic Gardens, Eastern approaches, Edge Lane, Green hubs, Laburnum arch, Liverpool, Parks, Pathways programme, Regeneration, Wavertree, William Roscoe. Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.