Breckland Council and Dereham Town Council have announced Dereham’s Queen Mother’s Garden refurbishment is now complete and will reopen to the public on 7 November.

As part of Breckland Council’s Thriving Places programme, aimed at supporting town centres to thrive and prosper, both councils are delighted see the newly refurbished gardens, set between St Withburga Lane and the High Street, reopen to residents and local community groups to enjoy.

The garden is the only one named after The Queen Mother in the country and was opened by her in 1983. To commemorate her life, a new Queen Mother’s planting bed has been developed, including the Queen Mother clematis, roses and agapanthus plants, and thousands of new bulbs.

Other features of the refurbished gardens are:

·       New picnic benches made from recycled material with wheelchair positions and integrated all-weather games boards.

·       New wheelchair-friendly paths throughout.

·       Sensory planting areas and bird boxes designed by local school children

·       New CCTV and security gate systems to combat any anti-social behaviour issues.

·       A new access path from the Meeting Point dementia support centre.

·       New community book swap cabinet

·       New climbing plant-covered pergola arch walkway

·       Kiosk area with water and power facilities for community events

Cllr Paul Hewett, Breckland Council’s Executive Member for Property and Projects said: “I am delighted to see the gardens come alive once more. The new benches, community book swap cabinet, sensory planting and accessible pathways will ensure this is a true place of tranquillity and reflection for residents of all ages.”

Cllr Alison Webb, Breckland Council’s Executive Member for Health and Communities and representing ward members on the project, said: “I’m pleased that we’ve been able to work with the town council so successfully and delivered this exciting project on time, on budget and with the support of local businesses, schools and community groups. Linking with our Inspiring Communities and Thriving Places programmes this central space will enable residents and visitors to Dereham to meet up with friends and families, as well as provide a venue that will be suitable for public events.”

Cllr High King, the Mayor of Dereham, said: “I am delighted to see this beautiful green space in the heart of Dereham reopen to our residents. I would like to thank Breckland Council, local businesses, community groups like Dereham Men’s Shed, Meeting Point, and Dereham Nursery and Infant School for their involvement in this project and look forward to seeing the gardens flourish again over the coming decades.”

The refurbishment of the garden is being funded by Breckland Council’s Market Town Initiative, Dereham Town Council, and S106 funds. The gardens will reopen to the public on 7 November, with a special dedication ceremony expected in Spring 2023.

(Source: Breckland Council)