Go-ahead for Big Friendly Garden

A LORD has given the green light for an ambitious community garden in Bulwell — quashing fears that the long-awaited scheme could collapse.

Community activists and local politicians have been working on plans for the Big Friendly Garden (BFG) on land at the back of Cantrell Road Primary School for more than a year.

But legislation dictates that because the land is formerly part of school playing fields, any new scheme must be rubberstamped by a minister.

Now months of lobbying, which have been supported by Bulwell Forest members of Nottingham City Council, Bulwell’s Labour MP Graham Allen and the Bulwell Forest Action Group (BFAG), have paid off.

For Schools Minister Lord Hill has signed off a lease for the playing fields, noting at the bottom of a confirmation letter that he is “pleased to sort this out”.

The BFG was featured in last week’s Dispatch. The plot of land has been neglected since being turned into a wildlife garden more than 20 years ago. Locals want it brought back to life with raised beds, new planting and community backing. Funding has already been identified.

Project leader and chairman of the BFG steering group, Barbara Bates, said: “We are so delighted. We had been really worried that this would kill the project.

“We have so much enthusiasm from the local community, it really has brought everyone together. The thought that it might not happen was devastating.”

Coun Nick McDonald (Lab), a Bulwell Forest member of the city council, who has been involved in the lobbying, said: “This is an important project for the community. It represents everything that the Bulwell Forest community is about working together, getting stuck in and healthy living.

“My thanks go to Barbara for her hard work in leading this project, and to Graham Allen who got personally involved in lobbying for a quick decision.”