Creating a temporary community usable space
Since the 2017 explosion and subsequent demolitions, the bottom end of the Bebington Road precinct has look a little forlorn and forgotten about. Rather than have to look at regenerating weeds behind a mesh fence, the Community Land Trust negotiated with the Council to try to establish a temporary community garden on the site of the buildings previously occupied by Lans House and other shops.
Although the site was cleared of weeds in Autumn 2019 and some topsoil laid, the bad weather throughout the end of the year resulted in the topsoil being significantly waterlogged. Work to the ground was also halted until the former Griffiths Pie Shop was demolished. In 2020, when the pandemic hit, the CLT were told by the Council they should not do any work on the site, and it subsequently transpired that not all parts of the site had been acquired by the council; if we went onto the site we would be guilty of trespassing as the owners' consent could not be secured. Our plan had been to complete the temporary garden with a back fence mural painted by local people, grass and planters with small trees, fruit and vegetables which local people would grow and harvest. The CLT had been given a grant from the Council to purchase turf for the topsoil, and a £5,000 grant from the New Ferry/Port Sunlight Community Fund to purchase planters for the garden.
Unfortunately, into 2021 the landownership issues had still not been resolved. The Community Fund money was instead reinvested in an alleyway project for local residents, and in May 2021 after the Council finally topsoiled the extended site, it was seeded with grasses and wildflowers, and a temporary path laid across it to the back fence where the childrens' intended mural artwork was instead displayed on vinyl panels.
The garden will remain in community use until work commences on the replacement buildings which will be going on site in 2022.
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