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

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Mowers special report - Tractor-mounted units

Mowers special report - Tractor-mounted units

Are cylinder or rotary mowers the best bet to maximise efficiency, performance and productivity? Sally Drury reports.

Mowers special report - Ever-improving ride-ons

Mowers special report - Ever-improving ride-ons

Manufacturers are offering grounds professionals better models to tackle the most challenging mowing conditions, writes Sally Drury.

Mowers special report -  Remote-control and walk-behind mowers

Mowers special report - Remote-control and walk-behind mowers

Topography and the environment are key factors for mowing awkward areas but the latest machines are making the job easier, says Sally Drury.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Horticulture Week Custodian Awards

Products & Kit Resources