The last stage in the planning process has been successfully passed to allow Salford’s £30 million RHS Garden Bridgewater to go ahead.
City Mayor Paul Dennett and Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Director General, Sue Biggs, have welcomed news that the government will not call in plans for the garden which will transform the site of the former Worsley New Hall into a major tourist attraction.
Salford City Council’s planning panel granted planning permission in principle for the 154-acre garden last month, but plans had to go before the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government because the site is in the green belt.
City Mayor Paul Dennett said: “This is fantastic news for the people of Salford and Greater Manchester.
“RHS Garden Bridgewater will not only bring the historic grounds of Worsley New Hall back to life, but will also create jobs and business opportunities for the local area.
“The fifth national garden will be a national and a community asset, a key example of green infrastructure in Greater Manchester, creating a real public amenity within our green-belt.
“As a local council we are looking forward to working with the Royal Horticultural Society on the garden and in Salford’s communities for many years to come.”
Sue Biggs, Director General, Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), said: "We are delighted with this hugely positive news, which will allow us to progress plans for the biggest gardening project in Europe and create our first new garden in 17 years. It will be truly unique, unlike any of the other gardens in our portfolio, as it boasts a range of habitats from woods and lakes to streams and meadows.
"This news means we can fully embrace our ambition to create one of the most beautiful and inspiring gardens in Britain."
Louise Morrissey, Director of Land and Planning from Peel Land and Property who own the historic site said: “RHS Garden Bridgewater will leave an incredible legacy for the people of Salford. Equally, its creation reinforces our commitment and investment in the Northern Powerhouse as it will attract interest and visitors from across the North West and beyond. We look forward to working with the RHS and Salford City Council to help deliver such an inspirational project.”
The RHS has already begun the mammoth task of assessing and getting to know the huge site. A small team of staff are now based on location at the garden and are undertaking the many tasks involved in creating a brand new garden – from detailed planning for recruitment of further staff to cataloguing the condition and significance of thousands of existing individual trees and plants.
The ambitious plans for the garden include designs for a new Welcome building by architects Hodder+Partners, which will provide a visitor gateway to the garden, and a magnificent 11-acre walled garden designed by renowned landscape architect Tom Stuart-Smith.