More than 100 derelict sites in Liverpool are now being put to community use thanks to a new approach to improving green spaces.
A report to the Neighbourhood Select Committee by the cabinet member for living environment and localism, Councillor Steve Munby, examines the progress made since 2010 in creating a greener city.
He is now calling for annual action plans to be agreed for each ward to improve derelict sites and neglected green spaces in the city with more emphasis being placed on working with residents and the voluntary and private sector.
And an annual audit of the amount of green space available for residents and the changes in use over the previous 12 months is being proposed.
“We have made great strides in the last three years in bringing derelict sites back into worthwhile use,” said Councillor Munby. “Previously there was a centralised approach to these sites which did not take advantage of the local knowledge of residents and councillors.
“We are now dealing with these sites on a neighbourhood level and the result has been the creation of community gardens, allotment projects, artworks and numerous other imaginative projects as well as a general cleaning up of derelict sites.
“And, while we have a lot to be proud about, we want to take this forward by adopting a more systematic approach. While cleaning up sites is very important – everybody should be able to live in a clean environment and have access to green space wherever they live – we need to put much more emphasis on finding long-term and sustainable uses for these sites. These could be community gardens, play areas or allotments – anything that provides a focal point for residents.
“In particular, we should be looking at developing plans to improve the gateway routes into the city using the work carried out in Park Road as an example of what can be achieved.”
The report notes that three complementary approaches have been adopted to deal with derelict sites
• A drive to promote regeneration in poorer areas of the city
• Cleaning up 1000 grot spots
• Promoting community uses on derelict sites by councillors and neighbourhood staff
A number of initiatives have resulted in previously blighted areas throughout the city being improved . These include the Beautiful North project; improvements to the Park Road area using funds from the planning agreement for the new Tesco store, and improvements to the Croxteth Park estate again using funding from planning approval.
The report also lists improvements which have been made in every ward in the city. Examples of some of the initiatives include:
New wildflower meadow in Abingdon Road, Clubmoor on an area of land that had been a litter trap School allotments – 12 new allotments created for local schools in Croxteth Greenprint for Growth – an environmental improvement project in the north of the city focusing on delivering local jobs and enhancing gateway sites Jazzy Jiggers – a project in Warbeck Ward with residents groups to green alleyways
“These are just a few examples of the work being carried out, ” said Councillor Munby, “but in every ward across the city community gardens, landscaping , new planters and numerous other examples of environmental improvements are happening. It shows what can be achieved when this type of work is taken down to a neighbourhood level and we are now going to take this forward to fulfill the Mayor’s pledge to make Liverpool sparkle.”
Pictured: New community garden at Chapman Gardens.