Moorbank botanic garden at Newcastle University faces closure threat

Newcastle University's 1.6ha Moorbank botanic garden is under threat of closure.

The university, which leases the land from the city's freemen, said it will not renew the agreement due to the running costs and investment needed. The garden's grounds, desert house and tropical glasshouses hold plant collections amassed over almost a century.

Moorbank education officer Helen Talbot said until the university notifies the landlords in the new year, and the friends know what research and bequeathed plants could be moved, plans to open the site to the public cannot go forward. "We're hoping to negotiate with the freemen a separate lease so the garden can continue as a community resource and public attraction. But our biggest fear is the university will just take everything and leave us nothing but grass."

Newcastle University science faculty pro-vice-chancellor Professor Steve Homans said: "The primary purpose of Moorbank has been to support university teaching and research. However, the level of activity in both of these areas at the gardens has reduced in recent years."

He added: "The number of students using Moorbank is minimal. This has prompted us to review the research, teaching and engagement activities and assess whether they offer value for money.

"The gardens are not attracting those young people we need to reach on the scale we need in order to meet the Government's increasingly challenging widening participation targets.

"We have notified the landowners of our intention to surrender our lease, giving 12 months notice. We would be delighted if the Friends of Moorbank or any other volunteer group wanted to take over the lease."

The university withdrew a ú188,000 Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) bid in August, but the HLF said it could back a future project with the friends group.


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Read These Next

Trees and Shrubs - Planting benefits

Trees and Shrubs - Planting benefits

The message that health, the environment and business all benefit from trees is finally getting through, but are nurseries seeing an upturn? Sally Drury reports.

Sargent's solutions - proper assessment of the site can help ensure smooth project delivery

Sargent's solutions - proper assessment of the site can help ensure smooth project delivery

Failing to carry out a thorough external site assessment at the start of a job can lead to big problems, warns Alan Sargent.

Horticulture Week Business Award - Retail Sales Team of the Year

Horticulture Week Business Award - Retail Sales Team of the Year

Winner - Kew Retail, RBG Kew Enterprises


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +

Survey

What kit and machinery do you most want to read about in Horticulture Week?

What kit and machinery do you most want to read about in Horticulture Week?

Horticulture Week would like your help to identify the machinery you most want to see reviewed.

HORTICULTURE WEEK Custodian Awards

Find out more about the outstanding parks, gardens and arboricultural projects and teams that became our Custodian Award 2018 winners.

Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Products & Kit Resources