Liverpool initiates green corridor with a new park

A new park is to be created in Liverpool on an eight-acre piece of land bordering Kirkdale rail station that consists of woodland and grassed areas with wild flowers and wildlife.

Liverpool: board aims to join up pockets of green space - image: Simon O’Brien
Liverpool: board aims to join up pockets of green space - image: Simon O’Brien

It is one of the first pieces in the puzzle of a "green corridor" that was mooted by actor-turned- environmentalist Simon O'Brien as part of his role on Liverpool's Strategic Green & Open Spaces Review Board (HW, 13 May).

Now the site is to be made into a maintained park with the provisional name of Melrose Meadows. It was originally brought to O'Brien's attention by a student who heard about his quest to join up the pockets of green around the city and provide more quality green spaces in the north and east of the city, which have more deprivation.

O'Brien had identified a need in the city for quality, mature woodland, particularly in the north. He has described the site as "the land that time forgot", hidden behind dumped cars and rubbish. Accessed by walking through an old railway tunnel, the site opens out into "amazingly mature beautiful birch woodland that has been left to its own devices for 30-40 years".

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: "I was aware that there was a piece of land next to the railway but like most people I just drove past it without really knowing what was there, as you cannot see it properly from the road. Simon O'Brien brought it to my attention in his green spaces review and I went there with him and was absolutely stunned at how beautiful it is.

He added: "It really is a hidden jewel - a breath-taking piece of green space in north Liverpool with a lot of potential and we want to ensure that this significant site is maintained to be used by the local community. We are putting some funding into it and will be working with the community and other partners to protect and develop the site.

"I would like to thank Simon for highlighting this space. His interim review talked about creating green corridors in the city and this is a great example of how we can take that idea forward."

The city council has allocated £50,000 to start the work on the park, which is envisaged to have improved footpaths, entrance and signage. Local people will be consulted on how to make the most of the space, including security arrangements to allay any concerns about antisocial behaviour.

O'Brien and the open spaces review board have produced a report into possible parks funding models for Liverpool, which is facing having no money for non-statutory services such as parks by 2018. The local authority is yet to decide whether the recommended endowment funding model is the best way forward for the city's parks.

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