How forgotten garden in city centre is being given new lease of life - for just £50
- Credit: Neil Didsbury
One of the city’s forgotten outdoor spaces is in the middle of a rejuvenation - after lockdown provided an opportunity for it to be given some much needed love and care.
After closing its doors as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, The Halls in St Andrews Plain in Norwich was turned into an emergency food delivery hub to support vulnerable and self-isolating people in the city area.
But once this was up and running, the closure gave staff the opportunity to give some attention to the venues garden, which had become overgrown and in need of some TLC.
And what began as a simple tidy up, soon sprouted into a full renovation project, which is now well under way, with a surprisingly low cost - to date just £50 has been spent.
The project has seen the area stripped back and new planting is set to be done in due course.
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Matthew Packer, Norwich City Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for The Halls, said: “What was intended to be a simple tidy up of the front garden, which had been overgrown for about 15 years, gradually became a greater project.
“As some of the overgrowth was cleared by staff, this historical space - once the site of the City Arms pub - started coming to life and everyone at The Halls felt we had to use the opportunity to create something lasting for this magnificent area, which will increase its biodiversity.
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The team enlisted the help of experienced garden designer Sally Toms, who previously designed a garden at Blickling Hall and agreed to work on the project free of charge.
She then researched medieval garden spaces and put together a vision to redesign the space to reflect the city’s medieval history.
Much of the work already was done by Halls staff member Adrian Fordham, who has agreed to continue maintaining it in the futre.
Mr Packer added: “The plan we have in place will naturally increase the biodiversity of the space. We have also left a ‘wild area’ which will be managed, so bird nesting space is still available in the garden.
“No trees were removed and we have retained the largest fig tree in the garden, as this fits perfectly with our new scheme.”