Getting back on track

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A FORMER grot spot which has been transformed from eyesore to eye-catching is in the running for a prestigious environmental award.

The site, a large section of wasteland off Brandreth Close in Rainhill, used to be a hive of fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour.

But, with the help of Riverside housing association, it has now been transformed into a community resource for all local residents to enjoy.

The site, which is adjacent to the Rainhill rail line where the trials of Stephenson’s Rocket first took place in 1829, is steeped in local history.

Drawing on the world-famous steam engine as inspiration, and with input from residents, artist Nicola Taggart provided three pieces of artwork to compliment the landscaping.

The project, now up for a Merseyside Environment Award, was part of a wider scheme to develop green spaces in the North West and beyond.

Regionally, more than £15m worth of funding was secured from the Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces programme.

Carol Reddecliff, Riverside housing association’s neighbourhood community engagement officer, said: “The makeover is very much a community effort.

“It all started with us holding a consultation event to encourage residents to express their ideas and develop a sense of pride and ownership.

“This site was once a blot on the landscape. It became overgrown and stagnant and a dumping ground for waste. Now everyone can enjoy the space.”

The winner will be announced at a special ceremony in Liverpool tomorrow (May 17).