Scheme to involve community in greening derelict sites notches up 100 projects

More than 100 derelict sites have been turned over to communities to improve green spaces, with a call for each ward in Liverpool to draw up derelict-site action plans.

The project, launched in 2010, chalked up its 100th site recently and a report is calling for annual action plans to be agreed for each ward to improve derelict sites and neglected green spaces with more emphasis on working with residents and the voluntary and private sector.

The author, councillor Steve Munby, is also proposing an annual audit of the amount of green space available for residents and the changes in use over the previous 12 months

"We have made great strides in the last three years in bringing derelict sites back into worthwhile use," he said. "Previously there was a centralised approach to these sites which did not take advantage of the local knowledge of residents and councillors.

"We are now dealing with these sites on a neighbourhood level and the result has been the creation of community gardens, allotment projects, artworks and numerous other imaginative projects as well as a general cleaning up of derelict sites.

"And while we have a lot to be proud about, we want to take this forward by adopting a more systematic approach. Cleaning up sites is very important but we need to put more emphasis on finding long-term and sustainable uses for these sites.

"They could be community gardens, play areas or allotments – anything that provides a focal point for residents. In particular, we should be looking at developing plans to improve the gateway routes into the city."

Munby’s report looked at three "complementary approaches" to deal with derelict sites. These included a drive to promote regeneration in poorer areas, the cleaning up of 1,000 "grot spots", and promoting community uses on derelict sites.

Initiatives to date include using funds from planning agreements to improve the Croxteth Park estate. Meanwhile a litter trap was turned into a wildflower meadow, a "Jazzy Jiggers" project greened up alleyways and 12 new school allotments were built. A Greenprint for Growth scheme focuses on gateway sites.

 "These are a few examples of the work being carried out," said Munby. "But in every ward across the city community gardens, landscaping, new planters and numerous other examples of environmental improvements are happening.

"It shows what can be achieved when this type of work is taken down to a neighbourhood level."

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