Plan for Community Garden next to Barn

March 31 2021
Plan for Community Garden next to Barn

A COMMUNITY Garden will be created in Wells if proposals by the city’s Rotary Club come to fruition.

Plans are being discussed for a garden in the grassed area in front of the Bishop’s Barn, to be designated as a public Garden of Reflection and Renewal.

It will be somewhere that people can spend time in an attractive setting, a place to remember loved ones, including those who have died or become seriously ill from Covid-19, and to reflect on and celebrate the community spirit that has been apparent throughout the pandemic.

“This project stems from a desire to utilise and nurture the enhanced community spirit that has developed within Wells,” said Rotary Club member Alan Webb.

“We therefore propose to invite interested community groups or individuals to join us in the planning and execution of this project. Preliminary chats have shown great enthusiasm.”

Alan and fellow Rotary Club member Wendy Ray were due to say more about the proposal at the Wells City Council meeting on March 25. With the council set to take over ownership of the Bishop’s Barn and Recreation Ground from Mendip District Council, the Rotary Club is keen to gain the city council’s backing for the project.

“This garden is so timely as the city council is taking over the Bishop’s Barn and they want to make it a venue of note,” Alan said.

“The Barn is obviously key to this area, and its doorway in particular. Any successful treatment of this entire area will not only bring the Barn into the landscape design scheme, but should also show off the Barn to its best.”

There will be opportunities for local craftspeople to become involved in the project, as well as local community groups and young people, both in creating the garden and in ongoing maintenance.

Alan has held preliminary discussions about the project, and a site meeting, with some city councillors, and Lesley Hegarty from The Hegarty Webber Garden Design Partnership, which has particular expertise in the design of local hospice gardens and public spaces.

“I think it would be absolutely fantastic,” said Lesley.

“The space has a lovely feel and it’s big enough to make a very special garden.”

Subject to council approval, Rotary will appoint a project team to draw up a budget. The project team will also consider applying for grants, donations and sponsorship from local garden nurseries.

Alan has already improved one public space in Wells, with the help of neighbour Mary Idylls, putting in plants in an area of rough grass by the footpath between St Thomas Street and Millers Gardens, where he lives.

The pair received permission for the planting from the district council, and Alan said: “Mary is passionate about wilding up areas with native planting. This combined with some spot planting of more showy items has turned this area into a lovely walkway. It is greatly appreciated by all who pass by and we receive many words of encouragement and approval, and the occasional plant.”

• Picture: Alan Webb and Mary Idylls have brightened up the area alongside the footpath linking St Thomas Street and Millers Gardens