Year’s reprieve for garden

The Tasting Garden.
The Tasting Garden.

City councillors have given a year’s grace to supporters of a green space in Lancaster.

The Storey Tasting Garden had been earmarked for removal after suffering vandalism and falling into disrepair.

The garden, which is inside the Storey Gardens in Meeting House Lane, was originally four paths forming branches of a tree, each leading to a bronze sculpture of a fruit on a plinth.

But the metal fruit - an apple, cherry, plum and a pear - were stolen several years ago.

About 90 per cent of the artwork, including trees, most of the plinths and memorial stones, remains in place.

The Tasting Garden, by artist Mark Dion, was commissioned in 1998 as part of ArtTransPennine 98, a collaboration between Tate Liverpool and the Henry Moore Trust to exhibit 40 artworks at sites from Liverpool to Hull.

Lancaster City Council, owners of the Storey, estimates the cost of refurbishing the artwork at between £30,000 and £50,000, plus an extra £250 per year to maintain it.

Councillors at Tuesday’s cabinet meeting agreed to give the garden’s backers a year to find funding sources to safeguard its future.

Coun Eileen Blamire said: “Having visited the garden and talked to people there, I think we should give them a year to raise the funding they need.

“If they can prove that the funding can be raised, the council should think about looking into it again and restoring the artwork.

“At the moment the council is not in a position to do the fundraising so this is an opportunity for people individually to do that.

“If there isn’t the support then it makes the decision clear.

“It seems sensible to give them a year to see if funding is available.”

Coun Janice Hanson said: “It’s a fabulous area and we want to see the people of the district using it and enjoying the space. We should at least give them the chance to try.”