Parks nursery set to move as part of east Leeds developments
Leeds City Council’s award-winning parks and countryside nursery could be on the move as part of plans to develop two areas of east Leeds.
The council’s executive board will be asked at its meeting on Wednesday 4 September to approve a design and cost report being produced to move the nursery from its current location at Red Hall to a purpose-built new facility on council-managed land at Whinmoor Grange.
The move would free up the council-owned land at Red Hall for possible future sale for development as part of the proposed East Leeds Extension to provide major new housing and associated amenities.
The council has previously agreed a planning vision for Whinmoor Grange, which includes the relocated nursery plus the new cemetery which opened in July and sports pitches.
The council currently manages 28 hectares of land at Red Hall, which is occupied by the parks and countryside nursery plus horticultural facilities and playing fields which have been unable to be used as sports pitches for several years due to poor drainage.
The area has been earmarked as being of high potential value for future housing, with any such development needing a new road dubbed the East Leeds Orbital Road (ELOR) to be built to service the new houses and ease the pressure on the existing road network. It is expected that the route of the ELOR would take it through the existing Red Hall site.
To allow for such a development to happen, the nursery and associated facilities plus some playing pitches provision would be relocated to a new site at Whinmoor Grange. Such a move could be completed by the end of 2016.
The parks and countryside nursery at Red Hall is the only one of its type in the city, occupying 10.5 hectares of land and producing more than two million bedding plants and approximately 250,000 edibles each year for a range of customers including schools, businesses and community ‘Leeds in Bloom’ groups.
The nursery has a national reputation for horticultural excellence, as shown by the back-to-back gold medals earned at the prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show with show gardens which featured planting schemes and produce developed at Red Hall.
The nursery is also popular with visitors, with open days to the site being well attended and the shop performing well all-year-round. It is currently playing a key role in the city’s new ‘Feed Leeds’ community food growing initiative, offering starter packs and advice for anyone wishing to take part as well as hosting food being grown by community groups across the city.
The nursery’s other main function is as a centre for excellence in training, with a new apprenticeship programme in place offering the chance for young people to develop training and skills in horticulture.
An initial assessment has revealed that a new nursery at Whinmoor Grange could be more efficiently designed to bring about a 40 per cent saving in space than the current site, resulting in a smaller nursery but with no detrimental effect on its operation.
Leeds City Council executive member for the environment Councillor Mark Dobson said:
“As part of the broader important plans for the proposed East Leeds Extension, the nursery site at Red Hall will need to be moved. The nursery is very popular and serves an important role within the city so we are looking to create a new improved site at Whinmoor Grange which will become the new home of horticulture in Leeds.”
Leeds City Council executive member for the economy and development Councillor Richard Lewis said:
“Development in the East Leeds Extension will play a significant role in helping the city meet its housing growth ambitions and needs. The relocation of the nursery will create an opportunity for the council to set some benchmarks in the quality of new development at Red Hall, retain important local facilities for the area and contribute positively to the existing neighbourhoods. Local people will have a key role to play in helping shape the proposals for the site.”
For media enquiries please contact:
Leeds City Council press office,
Tel 0113 247 5472