‘Preferred partner’ announced for Ryton sale

‘Preferred partner’ announced for Ryton sale

Specially for Kitchen Garden subscribers, here’s the latest Subs Club news about the future of Ryton Organic Gardens.

The latest in the acrimonious dispute about the potential sale of Ryton Organic Gardens is that Garden Organic has announced a preferred partner: Coventry University.

Last September, it was announced that Garden Organic’s trustees were reviewing options for the Ryton site, with the aim of releasing the charity from the financial pressures of owning and managing it. These, said the trustees, were increasingly restricting the charity’s ability to fulfil its aims.

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Despite outrage from many Garden Organic members, the site was listed for sale, and proposals were received for a variety of uses, including housing and business developments. Coventry University has now been selected as the preferred partner, and the charity and university are in ‘advanced talks’ about the sale of the site.

Garden Organic and Coventry University have worked together since the 1980s. The university’s Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience is based at Ryton, and it continues to work with Garden Organic on a number of projects.

The trustees say that their decision was informed by members’ views, which made clear that selling Ryton to developers should be considered only as a very last resort. They say: “We have listened carefully to these views, and can confirm that this option rules out selling the site to a housing developer. We are also working towards an outcome that will enable us to continue demonstrating organic growing, and would protect the work of the Heritage Seed Library.”

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Negotiations are expected to take some months, and in the meantime, the charity’s work will continue as normal and Ryton will remain open to visitors.

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Steve Ott

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