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Orchard plans may bear fruit


A community orchard and wild flower meadow could be planted as part of a £22,000 scheme for land next to the River Greet, Southwell.

The land along the footpath between Riverside and Upton Road is mainly owned by Newark and Sherwood District Council.

Two small areas belong to Mr Douglas Gascoine.

There are plans to improve the public footpath that runs through the land to make it easier for disabled children from Caudwell House, Southwell, to use.

A £19,000 grant from Nottinghamshire County Council’s Building Better Communities scheme could help pay for the work, with the rest coming from public donations.

The district council’s landscape architect, Mrs Kathy Wimble, who drew up plans for the area, explained the project at a meeting of Southwell Town Council on Wednesday.

Mrs Wimble said the current footpath was not suitable for people in wheelchairs or the elderly.

“There is a very steep flight of steps at the Riverside end of the footpath on land belonging to Mr Gascoine,” she said.

“We are having discussions about removing the steps and making it possible for children from Caudwell House to access the area.

“The footpath along the river would be improved and we would install new benches.”

Mrs Wimble said if it was not possible to replace the steps another access point further down the path could be used.

A large area of land towards the Upton Road end of the footpath would be landscaped to cover exposed sewage pipes.

Top soil will be moved to cover the pipes.

“The soil we expose will be perfect for wild flowers to grow,” said Mrs Wimble.

“Next to the wild flower meadow we would plant a community orchard with a grass footpath through it for people to walk round.”

There would be 12 apple varieties in the orchard and they planned to ask the public to sponsor the trees.

“We would put a label next to the tree saying who it was dedicated to and a bit about the variety of the tree,” she said.

Mrs Wimble said the district council would give the land to the town council.

Town councillor Mr Brendan Hague was concerned that taking ownership of the land could cost the town council money.

“We are relieving the district council of sizeable financial commitment,” he said.

Mrs Wimble said the district council paid £4,500 a year for maintenance of the land that was mainly spent on removing weeds.

Mr John Robinson said: “I think we should be able to put enough money on the budget to cover what it costs to maintain the land and ask the district council for a reduction in rates.”

The town council agreed to accept ownership of the land on condition that the Building Better Communities grant was made and after negotiations with the district council to try to secure a contribution towards maintenance costs.

The scheme for the Riverside footpath has been combined with a £17,800 district council bid to Building Better Communities for money to build a sensory garden at Caudwell House.

Mrs Wimble said they estimated the garden would cost £38,000 but they had received around £20,000 in public donations towards it.

The garden would have three fountains to create different sounds and a sound system so children could listen to music outside.

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