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Newark and Sherwood District Council reveals new vision for once-threatened Library Gardens

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Community opinions are sought on future plans for Newark’s Library Gardens, now a protected green space that came within an inch of being lost.

Library Gardens was saved from becoming an asphalt extension to the London Road carpark.

Newark and Sherwood District Council and the Friends of the Library Garden have since been working on proposals that now go out to consultation as there are homes, businesses, the library and the wider community interested in its future.

Friends of The Library Garden L-R Dawn Campbell, Esther Cropper and Christine Stevenson looking at the plans with Sarah Lacey from Newark and Sherwood District Council. (57938082)
Friends of The Library Garden L-R Dawn Campbell, Esther Cropper and Christine Stevenson looking at the plans with Sarah Lacey from Newark and Sherwood District Council. (57938082)

District council leader David Lloyd, said: “We are keen to move forward into a new era in relation to this site where children, families, community groups, in fact all residents, can enjoy this space.

“We met with the Friends group earlier this week to get their views on our proposed plans and now we are really keen to get feedback from other local residents and businesses, to ensure that we deliver something that meets local needs moving forward.”

Aerial View Pocket Park (57949879)
Aerial View Pocket Park (57949879)

The proposed plans include different features such as a hard-standing area for easy access for different disability groups.

A rain capture system will feed storage barrels to water plants and to create a pebbled rain garden that would run through, providing moisture for insects and wildlife.

A container-like-pavilion clad with wood and a green roof would house the equipment. Just outside the pavilion, there would be a decking area to host educational talks with schools, diversity workshops and local community activities.

Bishops Place View Pocket Park (57949883)
Bishops Place View Pocket Park (57949883)

Across the garden there would be spaces with planted wildflowers and a bulb meadow, which will always give colour and vibrance to the park.

Adding to the biodiversity of the space, there would be a purple haze bed, including bluebells, tulips and lavender.

As the site already has ancient trees, new ones will be added, one rowan and two birch.

Pocket Park features (57949886)
Pocket Park features (57949886)

The idea is to let the plants and wildlife grow naturally, meaning the grass would only be cut back once a year to keep the garden fresh.

A seating area would be installed around the sycamore tree, with wildflowers planted nearby, so people are in touch with nature.

The district council is in conversation to make the garden accessible all year around from inside and outside o the library.

Library View Pocket Park (57949890)
Library View Pocket Park (57949890)

The idea is to allow a view to the garden from inside the library building with interpretation boards inside and out.

Christine Stevenson, who was part of the protest to stop the chop, is one of the Friends of the Library Gardens volunteers said: “It’s fabulous. To think that all of this could have been gone and become a carpark.

“But now, thanks to the efforts of the whole community it’s been saved and working together with the council and other partners, it’s been established that it’s now going to be a wildlife garden, which is tremendous news to everyone.

“A little pocket for wildlife and people to come and enjoy, contemplate and enjoy right in the heart of Newark, what could be better?

“We have regular meetings and contact and obviously from both sides there are issues of communications and difficulties finding common ground and there’s likely to be some frostiness or lack of trust in each other. But as the time goes by I can see there’s an exchange of views and ideas and the fact that we are talking more we should overcome those issues. We’re slowly educating those who need education in terms of environmental issues.”

Due to the location of the site it is said to be crucial that anti-social behaviour is prevented.

Mr Lloyd said: “The area will have gated access and this will be locked in the same way as Newark Castle Gardens, on a daily basis. Opening hours will vary throughout the year but the gate will be unlocked at dawn, and closed at dusk daily."

"This will help ensure we protect the beautiful garden from any incidents.”

The consultation period will start in August and a final decision on the plans will be made at the beginning of September.

The council encouraged as many residents as possible to share their views on the plans so that a common decision can be made and the plans can move forward.

As soon as the plan is approved, the work on the garden will start, however, there is no official end date as it depends on the weather, the final changes to the plans and the availability of resources and product.

It is hoped that by the end of the year the garden will be ready for the community to use.

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