AFTER three years of fundraising, work is finally set to start this month on the Victorian Walled Kitchen Garden’s gatehouse.
The Guernsey Botanical Trust manages the site at Saumarez Park, and a spokesman confirmed that all the permissions and certificates were now in place, a builder has been appointed and the site cleared ready for the work.
‘At present, we have not raised sufficient money to complete the entire building, so we have decided to adopt a phased approach to the project,’ he said.
‘Phase one being the construction of the building to an air and watertight state, which is expected to take around six months. We would like to complete phase two as quickly as possible, but for that we need to continue with our fundraising efforts.’
The trust has been slowly restoring the site since 2006, when it was derelict. Now the glasshouses have been rebuilt and the beds planted up with heritage varieties.
A shop opened in 2013 allowing the site to sell its produce and crafts, which has helped with the fundraising.
Fundraising for the gatehouse started in 2017 with a raise-the-roof campaign with donations and support from many different sources.
‘The gatehouse will provide a multifunctional space housing La Choppe [the shop], a crew room for the volunteers, secure storage as well as a learning and heritage centre,’ the spokesman said.
‘This will enable us to deliver our educational programmes that support many areas of our community, to an even higher standard.’
During the gatehouse construction, barriers will be erected to allow safe access for the lorries to bring in building materials to the site. There will be restricted pedestrian access around the site during this time.
‘We would like to thank everyone who has supported us with their kind generosity and we look forward to welcoming you to the garden later in the year to see what will be a wonderful addition to the island’s horticultural heritage,’ the spokesman said.
‘It will complement our working Victorian Walled Kitchen Garden by adding a facility from which all our island community will benefit.’
The garden and La Choppe are closed for winter maintenance until April, but there might be a special open day for La Choppe on 21 March for Mothers’ Day.