Sudell Ward Labour councillors' ambitious plans to bring a mini Eden Project to Maghull are blossoming as they announced a new partnership between Maghull Town Council and a Royal Horticulture Society multi-award winner from the town.
Labour councillor and leader of Maghull Town Council, Cllr Patrick McKinley, devised plans for the project which would see 'bio domes' installed on a piece of under-utilised land at KGV field as part of Maghull Town Council's two-year green strategy.
The domes would be the showpiece of the scheme which Cllr McKinley hopes would attract visitors to the town to see rare and tropical plants being grown right here in Maghull's own plant heritage centre.
To help on the scheme, Cllr McKinley and fellow Sudell Ward Labour councillors Lynn Gatherer and Rob Owens, have drafted in local expert Don Billington on to the project steering group.
Since starting his own Maghull-based horticulture business, Don has scooped countless prestigious awards, including gold medals at RHS Cardiff, Malvern, Chelsea, Tatton, Gardeners' World, Hampton Court, and at Holker, Harrogate, Shrewsbury and Southport Flower Shows.
In 2013, Don was awarded a prize by the Guild of Judges for making a significant contribution in plant displays. in 2014 he was awarded best in show at Hampton Court Plant Heritage, best in show at Shrewesbury, Southport and Harrogate.
And if that isn't enough, he was recently appointed onto the RHS Plant Committee for tender and ornamental plants.
Cllr McKinley said Don is a great addition to the project team.
Cllr McKinley said: "You just need to look at Don's trophy cabinet or his CV to see we have a man whose talents we need to tap in to. We have someone who is one of the leading lights in the world of horticulture right here in our midst.
"So when we were looking for an expert to help with a project to bring bio domes to Maghull, we need look no further than Don.
"He kindly gave a very insightful presentation to Maghull Town Council on the project which gave us a realistic view of what the bio domes would look like and what we could do in them. What these domes would allow us to do is create a green hub within the Town Hall Meadows grounds using Sefton Council 106 funding which is specifically earmarked for environmental improvements and green projects.
"Within the domes we would plan to house and display national plant collections which could see Maghull becoming the horticultural capital of the North West. This will be Maghull's very own mini Eden Project.
"But more than that. To make this the success that I foresee it being, we want to create educational and training opportunities for local schools and people, and really involve the community with everything from the running of the facility to hosting gardening and craft classes.
"This is a unique and ambitious plan which has already started getting local attention and support. I would be fascinated to hear what other people from Maghull think."
Don said he was excited to be involved in such a pioneering community project.
He said: "Cllr McKinley asked me to work with him and his colleagues on this green project project which would enable us to bring these innovative bio domes to Maghull.
"This is an opportunity to create something unique within the local environment."
Maghull Town Council clerk, Angela McIntyre, said this was an exciting project for the town.
Angela said: “I think this is a fantastic opportunity for Maghull to have a unique facility. To have national collections housed within the domes and available for everyone to experience will be both educational and rewarding for young and old alike. I look forward to working closely with the Council and Don Billington over the coming months so that we can have this exceptional project come to KGV playing fields.”