Liverpool plans botanical spheres

Eden-style project for Merseyside set out

By Matthew Appleby Three glass spheres are planned for “Liverpool’s Eden Project”, which would house the city’s botanical collection. The city council’s regeneration select committee visited Calderstones Park this week, where the £12 million project, designed by consultancy Ferguson McIlveen, could be built. It will show unseen collections, including Liverpool’s orchids, which moved to council greenhouses in Garston after the closure of Harthill Gardens, where the collection was previously housed. Ferguson McIlveen, working with support services group Mouchel Parkman, hopes the project will attract 100,000 visitors a year. Buildings Mansion House and Coach House in Calderstones may be sold to pay for the project. The project could involve the RHS as a backer, as well as HLF money, and may also include a garden centre. Council executive member Warren Bradley said the council supported the plan in principle and hoped to open the site in 2008, when Liverpool will become European City of Culture. He added: “I don’t believe there are enough places for people to visit at the moment. It’s about upping the ante on a regional basis. “But I’d hate to see red tape getting in the way of something that is another feather in the cap of Liverpool and will give the botanic collection rightful coverage.” Planning applications will go in early next year if public consultation is successful.

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