Norwich’s Plantation Garden could reopen to the public this month

Roger Connah, chairman of the Plantation Garden Preservation Trust, by the entrance to Plantation Ga

Roger Connah, chairman of the Plantation Garden Preservation Trust, by the entrance to Plantation Garden - Credit: Archant

Norwich's Plantation Garden could reopen to the public before the end of this month, the trust responsible for its upkeep has confirmed.

Access leading to the Victorian garden, off Earlham Road, was boarded up in January by MJB hotel owner Tony Burlingham.

He said the decision was made due to health and safety concerns after sinkholes opened at three of his nearby hotels.

Mr Burlingham said an underground survey would have to be undertaken before access could be restored to ensure there was no further risk of subsidence.

But Roger Connah, chairman of the Plantation Garden Preservation Trust, said the public could be allowed back in before the survey takes place on March 24.


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'We should be able to get back into the gardens much quicker than we first thought,' he said.

'Tony Burlingham has offered to let us cross the carpark of his Governors Hotel to get into the garden, which means we could open it up before March 24.'

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While the public has been unable to access the site, the trust has been able to get inside via a temporary entrance off Unthank Road.

It has ensured the garden has been maintained following the closure.

Back in February, Norwich City Council carried out its own underground survey on a section of the garden after it was suggested a chalk mine could run beneath the site.

However the assessment found the gardens were safe for people and employees to visit.

Mr Connah said: 'There was a concern that the void or tunnel under the Plantation Hotel extended under the Garden. This was tested and we were pleased to hear that there is no problem and we can use the garden and permit the public to enjoy.

'However the access drive has not been tested yet and this was the reason for the closure by the freeholders of the drive. There is no evidence to indicate a potential void but we have been asked to wait for testing to be done.'

Mr Connah said it was important for the site to reopen by April as the trust had a series of public events planned for the coming months.

They include a series of summer teas, a jazz and picnic event, and an event in conjunction with Norwich's Cinema City.

What do you think? Email luke.powell@archant.co.uk

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