Nottingham City WI and Nottingham City Council have taken joint responsibility to reinstate the space to its former glory and last year secured a grant from the Department of Communities and Local Government’s Pocket Park scheme of £12,050.
Originally the site of a burial ground dating back to 1742, the garden was created in the 1950s but has fallen into state of disrepair.
Staff from Clegg Construction and Maber Architects’ Landscape team will be providing their services for free and working with members of Nottingham City WI to create defined spaces within the park, including a section dedicated to wild flowers.
This will be allowed to go to seed after flowering, to provide feeding and nesting opportunities for wildlife and also to produce nutritious leaf mulch and house a carefully designed insect ‘hotel’, allowing a variety of insects to breed and hibernate.
Nottingham City WI is a member of the Nottingham Bee Forum and is introducing a planting plan, prepared in collaboration with Maber Architects, which includes bee-friendly plants to give year-round support to Nottingham’s urban bee population.
This will also support Nottingham’s Bee Action Plan, which encourages the introduction of pollinator-friendly plants throughout the city, to create ‘green corridors’ to attract bees and other pollinating insects.
Working closely with the local community, the City WI want to encourage birds into the new pocket park too, by installing a variety of feeding stations and nesting boxes. New paving will be installed by Clegg Construction and work has started this week.
Sarah Manton, President of Nottingham City WI, said:
“Barker Gate Rest Garden has existed as a public green space since 1953, but has been in need of rejuvenation for a number of years. Working alongside Nottingham City Council and with the invaluable help of both Clegg Construction and Maber Architects, we will be creating a new pocket park in the space, which is great news for the Creative Quarter and Nottingham city centre as a whole.”
Mark Hobson, Maber’s Managing Director, said:
“When we heard about the City WI’s plans, our landscape design team were keen to contact Sarah and offer their services to help. The park is right on our doorstep and we know many people, including our staff, who value the importance of this little city oasis. We’re really happy to be supporting this project.”
Clegg Construction’s Managing Director, Simon Blackburn said:
“Giving back to the community is important to us, so we are more than happy to contribute to the works at the garden, especially as it is just a short walk away from our office. Whilst Clegg Construction is providing the paving works, the joint effort between all parties shows a real community spirit.”
Kathy McArdle, Chief Executive Officer of the Creative Quarter said:
“The new pocket park will provide a welcome green space for people living and working in the Creative Quarter, as well as visitors to the area. It will really complement the area’s thriving café culture and wonderful heritage, providing a place where people can go and enjoy relaxing and being in nature. The Creative Quarter recognised the importance of urban greening in this part of the city over two years ago with the introduction of our Articulture project and the rejuvenated Barker Gate Rest Garden will be a great addition to this. We look forward to watching it blossom.”