Real estate and landowning giants Peel have put the finishing touches on a plan to move a Worsley scout camp so the RHS can build a major new attraction: a £30 million garden.
RHS Garden Bridgewater was announced in October 2015.
In a spectacular coup for city tourism, Salford will be home to the fifth major garden project run by the Royal Horicultural Society.
The Society already runs garden attractions at Wisley in Surrey; Hyde Hall in Essex; Rosemoor in Devon and Harlow Carr in Yorkshire.
Wisley is known for its woodland flowers, Rosemoor its distinctive ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ gardens, Hyde Hall its famous Dry Garden and Harlow Carr for its wildflower meadows.
The RHS expect their new garden, to be designed by landscaper Tom Stuart-Smith, will be completed by 2019.
Worsley New Hall was built for the Earls of Ellesmere in the 1840s.
It is pictured here in 1927 with the much older Worsley Old Hall sitting to the rear.
The RHS plan to restore Worsley New Hall’s huge 10-acre walled kitchen garden, as well as recreating historic and long-lost features like the tree-lined Garden Approach, and the recovery of the Lost Terraces.
There were six terraces south of the Hall and leading down to the lake.
Romantic artist EA Brooke visited the wealthist families who owned England’s grand gardens at palaces and country mansions, publishing a folio of sketch work in 1858 which included Worsley New Hall’s sculptured Lower Terrace.
But in the way of the new 156-acre gardens at Worsley New Hall is Middlewood Scout Camp.
Worsley New Hall was demolished in stages between 1945 and 1949, after being requisitioned by the Ministry of Defence during the Second World War.
The 800-space, 22-acre camp was built at the end of 1943 when its predecessor Alder Forest in Winton was turned over to farmland to grow food for the war effort.
It is now operated by Greater Manchester West Scouts.
It’s used for days out and gatherings by Scout groups from across Greater Manchester and the North West.
Peel, who are putting in the planning applications under their Investments (North) Ltd subsidiary, have been talking to Greater Manchester West County Scout Council since around 2012.
Under the plans, the camp will be relocated around half a mile to the south west to a new 30-acre purpose-built facility at Hollin Wood.
This is around 300 metres south of Boothstown Marina.
The closest footpath to the new site is off Booth Hall Way, via a footbridge over the Bridgewater Canal.
Along with new buildings to replace ones on site which are rickety pre-fabs and mainly unfit for purpose, the plans include adding new wardens accommodation, a training centre and bunkhouse with space for 40 people, new toilet and shower blocks, garages for activities and better storage, a wet weather covered area and a field kitchen.
Both the current and proposed sites are in the Green Belt.
Under ‘very special circumstances’ Peel hope that because of the benefits the camp will bring – and the fact that there are limited locations to put a new Scout camp, the plans will be allowed.
The planning agents are Turleys.
The plans are expected to be decided on Wednesday 6 July 2016.
Main image: Middlewood Scout Camp entrance