Garden Organic, the non-profit owner of Ryton Organic Gardens in Warwickshire, has confirmed that the site is being marketed by property advisors ahead of an expected sale.
In an online statement on 25 January the charity, which counts the Prince of Wales among its patrons, updated members about the likely sale of the gardens, saying it is ‘exploring all possible options’ in a bid to ‘release the financial pressure that comes with owning and managing the land and buildings’.
In a previous letter to members in September 2017 James Campbell, chief executive, warned that the running costs of Ryton were ‘limiting our ability to operate to our full potential’ and called the site ‘simply too expensive to run’.
Now, the land is being considered for housing. Bruton Knowles Property Consultants told Horticulture Week that the 22-acre site has ‘residential development potential’.
“There is potential for change of use as residential and for redeveloping the site for up to 54 dwellings. The restrictions are it is in Green Belt land and the purchaser will have to maintain the openness of the Green Belt. The council will look at applications more favourably if they were to retain some of the gardens but it is not a necessity,” says the estate agent.
Parties interested in purchasing the land were due to submit formal tenders on 15 February and offers in the region of £4 million were anticipated.
Following the close of submissions, Garden Organic said: “We can confirm that we have now received a number of expressions of interest in our site at Ryton, from wide ranging sources and for a variety of purposes.
“At the moment these expressions of interest contain only headline information with minimal detail. The next step will be to meet with interested parties and begin discussions to understand the detail behind each one. This will be a complex and potentially lengthy process but as and when we have any further updates we will continue to publish them on our website.”
Despite members forming a protest group – Save Ryton Gardens’ petition had around 3,000 signatures by 22 February – it is understood that Garden Organic intends to continue pursuing the sale.