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Neston Shopfront Refurbishment Turns Over New Leaf

Published: 1st April 2018 07:17

Recent development and refurbishment work on the site of what was formerly 'Shand' has ground to a halt due to the discovery of a previously believed extinct species of plant.

The shop's prominent position at The Cross in Neston made its gradual deterioration over a number of years only too visible.  Residents and businesses recently welcomed signs that work was finally underway to bring the frontage up to a better standard, ahead of its conversion into a wine bar.

ShandThe Shand shopfront before work began.

However, the discovery of the only known extant example of Vere Scurra Atticus has brought work to an end. The plant has thrived in the dark and humid conditions, ideally suited to its natural habitat.  It has grown so much that it cannot be moved. Consequently the Worldwide Plant Conservation Authority guidelines dictate that it be conserved 'in situ', with the premises preserved as an area of outstanding natural beauty.

ShandVere Scurra Atticus has thrived in the dark and humid interior of
the former shop.

The discovery, and the realisation of the important nature of the plant, was made by Professor Krasavik Durań, head of Plant Conservation for Ness Botanic Gardens & Liverpool University.

Appointed to the role in 2016, Belarussian Professor Durań had returned to Neston a little over three weeks ago, following an ultimately unsuccessful field trip to Central/South America and the Pacific Islands, in search of believed-extinct plant species. He was walking up Neston High Street when something unusual caught his eye.

ShandA sketch of how the plant looks when flowering, usually in early

Speaking to AboutMyArea this week, Professor Durań said: "I was on my way to Neston Market in search of bedding pots, when from the corner of my eye I spotted a green leaf in the window of the shop. I was astonished to discover what appeared to be a healthy and thriving specimen of one of the species I had just travelled half-way around the world in search of."

Subsequent analysis confirmed Professor Durań's observations - resulting in the cessation of renovation of the premises. Work had only just commenced on the refurbishment of the shop frontage, with plans to develop the site as a trendy wine bar, to be rebranded 'Shandies'.

The decision comes as a blow to the Town Centre which has seen recent reinvigoration with the opening of similar venues, bringing in much custom to Neston.

Options are now being considered as to how best to preserve - and present - this unique plant specimen for future generations. Local authorities are understood to have commissioned a feasibility study for a 'Micro Eden Project' on our very own doorstep.

ShandImprovements to the shopfront have been halted by the discovery.


Thank you to everyone for joining in the fun, if you'd like to see our previous April Fool's Day articles, they're all here.


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Rob Ward
At 08:43 on 1st April 2018, Rob Ward commented:
Well done Carrie on interrupting your well-deserved Easter holiday to report this important discovery today.
null n
At 10:47 on 1st April 2018, null n commented:
Professor Duran and AMA should never have reported this !!!!

It was supposed to be kept secret by the WPCA. Approximately 30 years ago the WPCA were looking for a location to store priceless endangered plants where they would be safe from poachers trying to sell them for their medicinal properties. They have to be kept somewhere humid and in natural light so they can't be locked in secure vaults.

After years of searching they stumbled on the Shand. A shop no-one ever went into, that had tree brances in the window for no reason whatsoever so the local residents had become used to organic matter on display behind the glass, a perfect place to hide the plant in plain sight hoping no-one in the town would recognise its value, until now !

To keep the plant extra safe the WPCA circulated rumours around the town that Shand was a "drugs den" or a "Brothel" knowing the good people of Neston would never go near such an establishment, and the customers from the neighbouring pub were usually too drunk to know which way to hold their kebab let alone what a priceless plant looks like.

As interest grew the Town Council became involved and even put a bench outside the shop to make people look away from the Shand windows.

I blame the bright spark who decided to rennovate the shop front myself. If they had just left Shand to rot for another 30 years none of this would have happened !!!
Eunice U
At 10:55 on 1st April 2018, Eunice U commented:
Ooh! Getting eggciting now!
Clair C
At 20:59 on 1st April 2018, Clair C commented:
April Fools!
At 21:26 on 1st April 2018, kevowirral commented:
Great April fool story, Carrie. Maybe the Shand’s landlord might feel embarrassed now and do something about the shop ?
null n
At 12:08 on 2nd April 2018, null n commented:
Joking aside now we are past 1st April, what is happening at Shand with the front of the shop being tidied up does anyone know ?
Katie Robson
At 13:28 on 2nd April 2018, Katie Robson responded:
Thank you to everyone on here and Facebook for joining in the fun - it was certainly well received!

Dan - it is just a cosmetic exercise (to the best of my knowledge). A tidy-up so that the frontage is not the eyesore it's been for the last few years. I'm currently not aware of any plans for its use going forward.
null n
At 18:54 on 3rd April 2018, null n commented:
Elephant Floriculture maybe ? Coffee served with a backdrop of rare plants ?

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