Ryton Gardens set to be closed to public after sale.
ONE of the best known green attractions in the area has been sold after years of discussions.
Coventry University will take full ownership of Ryton Organic Gardens immediately.
The move will see the current gardens at the 22-acre site close to the public on Sunday, September 29.
But former owners - charity Garden Organic - will remain on the site as a tenant and will be leasing an area to develop into an organic demonstration and training garden, which will be open to members and the public on open days.
The charity will also continue to run the renowned Heritage Seed Library, which conserves vegetable varieties that are not widely available.
All other tenants are currently in talks with the university in regards to the ongoing management of the site. When plans to sell the site were first revealed, many members expressed concerns - as the site is home to memorials to loved ones.
It has been confirmed that those with memorials on the site will still be able to visit them via prior appointment with Coventry University.
Garden Organic will also have a dedicated area of remembrance and contemplation within its smaller garden to honour all those who have supported and contributed to the success of the charity. They will also create and maintain a Book of Remembrance. Those with a memorial will be individually contacted with details by the charity. Bosses at Garden Organic have said the sale will protect and enhance the long-term future of the site.
The charity's chief executive, James Campbell, said: "We are delighted that Coventry University is going to acquire Ryton Gardens.
"Our mission as a charity is to encourage people up and down the country to grow organically now and long into the future and we have carefully explored a number of options to ensure we are able to do this for decades to come.
"In recent years it has become clear that running costs of Ryton were limiting our abilities to operate to our full potential.
"We have carried out a thorough decision process and are confident that this is the most positive way to release the financial pressure that comes with owning and managing the extensive land and buildings.
"Ryton has special significance to Garden Organic and our loyal supporters so I am pleased that our partnership with Coventry University will continue, ensuring we still have an ongoing presence at the site. This change signifies a new and exciting era for Garden Organic, opening up opportunities for us to deliver organic growing advice in more ways to reach thousands of our members based in locations across the UK.
"It means we will have the resources to support more local groups and organisations, increase our campaigning and invest further in our member experiments and Heritage Seed Library."
The University's Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience has been based at the Ryton Gardens site for a number of years. It plans to expand the research and field trials undertaken there.
Professor Richard Dashwood, deputy vice-chancellor for research, said: "After detailed discussions with Garden Organic, we're delighted to have reached agreement to purchase the Ryton Gardens site and secured a positive future for it. We have worked closely with Garden Organic for 40 years and I'm pleased that they will continue to operate from the site, including running their Heritage Seed Library and organic demonstration and training garden. "Our focus is to sustain and strengthen research at Ryton through our Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, whose work helps to promote food and water security internationally."
Garden Organic's Board of Trustees has confirmed that funds raised by the sale will be placed within an ethical investment fund to be used in future for specific projects to further the aims of the organisation.
Members of the charity are set to receive an email and personal letter detailing the sale.
Ryton Organic Gardens