National Botanic Garden rescue plan?

Ministers remain quiet over Middleton partnership plans

Welsh Assembly ministers are keeping tight-lipped over the possible rescue package for the National Botanic Garden of Wales. Welsh culture minister Alun Pugh refused to name names, quoting commercial confidentiality. He told Horticulture Week: “There has been one very positive approach, which could provide an injection of funding and expertise.” He said the Welsh Assembly was “looking to find long-term assurance to the problems facing the garden — which means reversing the decline in visitor numbers”. The garden, at Middleton near Carmarthen, pleaded for more cash and the trustees accepted a £353,000 aid package last week. However, ministerial colleagues have made it clear the garden will have to adopt a different style. They believe longer-term development plans will fail to deliver a rise in attendance because the garden is science and botany based and lacks a “wow” factor. Meanwhile, Institute of Horticulture president Geoff Dixon entered the fray. “Botanic gardens are the international keepers of knowledge concerned with the environment and its interaction with plant biodiversity,” he said. He said the IoH hoped the required funding would be found.

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