Installed with the help of Mersey Forest, the ‘green wall’ will stretch across the outside of the upper floor of St Johns and will be visible from people walking by. Tony McDonough reports
Many people say there is not enough green space in Liverpool city centre and St Johns Shopping Centre is responding to the challenge with the installation of a giant ‘living wall’.
At 50m long, the ‘green wall’ will be the largest of its kind outside London and will stretch across the outside of the upper floor of St Johns and will be visible from the pedestrianised areas around it and from Queens Square Bus Station.
It is being funded through the EU Horizon 2020 project Urban GreenUP and is one of several green projects that are set to get under way in the city, which this year declared a climate emergency, over the next six months.
Liverpool’s Urban GreenUP programme has been awarded almost £3.5m of European funding to tackle issues such as biodiversity, flooding, climate change, air quality and health and wellbeing through ‘nature-based solutions’.
Partners in the five-year project include Liverpool City Council, The Mersey Forest, Liverpool BID Company and the University of Liverpool, as well as organisations in Valladolid (Spain) and Izmir (Turkey), and five more cities across the world.
Centre Manager, Neil Ashcroft, said: “At St Johns Shopping Centre we are always seeking ways to bring wider benefits to the communities we serve. Green space in city centres plays an important role in improving physical and mental health, as well as improving air quality.
“With a clear aspiration to install a living wall at the centre, we did our research and partnered with the Mersey Forest team to make it happen. We have worked hard with landlords, tenants and partners to drive this ground-breaking project forward and it is great to see this important milestone reached.”
Bill Addy, chief executive of Liverpool BID Company, added: “The introduction of the green wall at St Johns Shopping Centre is great news for the city, with this installation making our city centre greener and more environmentally sustainable, while improving the experience for locals, tourists and BID levy paying businesses.”