The city council has reached agreement with The Green Backyard to secure the charity’s future on their current London Road site.
A 12 year lease will now be signed with the charity.
This agreement represents a major investment in the community project by the council as it will no longer be selling the site for development.
Council officers have been working with members of The Green Backyard in recent months to confirm the agreement. This includes:
A 12 year lease at an agreed annual rent of £5,000
Two council appointed members to join The Green Backyard’s board of 12 volunteers
Six months to make improvements to the appearance of the London Road site
An annual report to the council’s scrutiny committee to measure positive community impact – which will include, for example, the level of volunteering, community learning, activities for the most vulnerable and supporting arts and culture groups
Councillor Irene Walsh, cabinet member for communities and environment capital, said “The social and community value of The Green Backyard, we believe, outweighs the money we could have sold it for development. It’s important that we invest in our community assets as this city grows and the success of this site is now firmly part of our vision for the city centre.
“This is a major investment for the council so it’s important we are involved in the good work of The Green Backyard. We will be working with the charity to expand the way they work with local residents to encourage more volunteering and community projects as well as promoting healthy lifestyles and engaging with a greater number of children and young people.
“The community benefit of The Green Backyard has always been clear, and through working with a range of local organisations and groups, I believe the future is incredibly bright for the site.”
The Green Backyard already works with the city council to support vulnerable and isolated residents and has delivered a number of community learning workshops with City College Peterborough. The charity also works with a number of other organisations including Froglife, Metal, Handmade in Peterborough, Peterborough Environment City Trust and the Olive Branch community garden.
Paul Hetherington, treasurer and fundraising lead for the charity, said: “The Green Backyard is delighted to have reached an accord with Peterborough City Council finally ending the uncertainty that has hung over our future. We look forward to working in partnership with the council to deliver more and better opportunities for the people of Peterborough and to become a national exemplar of sustainable urban living.
“We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the people who rallied to support The Green Backyard in our time of need without your support we would not be here today at the dawn of a bright new era.”
As part of the agreement the council will retain the frontage of the site onto Oundle Road and will partition The Green Backyard site with a new fence.
Alun Williams, vice-chairman of The Green Backyard, said: “The decision by the city council not to sell is brilliant news. Anyone who has seen the joy and wonder a first visit to The Green Backyard can bring to both old and young knows that it is already a very special place. And, with the greater opportunities, a secure future and council support will bring, it can only become even more special.
“Four and a half years ago, as my wife and I welcomed our friends and family there as we celebrated our wedding, one of our dearest wishes was that in years to come other couples would have the same opportunity. I believe that future generations will cherish The Green Backyard as a vital part of Peterborough’s heritage.”