Page last updated at 16:44 GMT, Friday, 21 August 2009 17:44 UK

'Living wall' now very much dead

Tim Newark by living wall
The living wall has seen better days

A "living wall" of geraniums and euphorbia that cost a council £100,000 to install is very much dead.

When it was installed in 2005 the wall, on the side of a children's centre in Islington, north London, was a verdant sea of green.

But just four years later the award-winning feature withered and died after the watering system failed.

A spokeswoman for Lib Dem-run Islington Council said: "As with anything, it carried a certain element of risk."

But that is not good enough for Labour councillor Barry Edwards.

He said: "They seem to have been very slow to sort it out.

"I can see why they installed it - but it does seem a great pity what has happened to it and I hope they can sort it out."

Tim Newark, of the Taxpayers' Alliance, accused the council of "experimenting" with public money.

'Initially it thrived'

The council had hoped the living wall, which was watered with recycled rainwater, would provide a habitat for wildlife.

It was thought to be the first wall of its type in Britain.

A spokeswoman for Islington Council said: "Initially it thrived and even won a national award.

"Of course we're disappointed that, despite everyone's best efforts, the green wall hasn't thrived.

"This could be down to its design and we are currently looking at the best way to restore it."

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