Fresh chapter for established garden centre following acquisition

The new owners of a Sheffield garden, nursery and aquatics centre intend to grow the site into a “community hub.”

Reverend Dave Walker and his son William have bought Birley Moor Garden Centre and Aquatics from previous owners Chris and Margaret Dale, who are retiring having run the facility since the early 1990s.

The Mosborough-based duo plan to invest in and improve the site. Subject to planning approval, proposals include a café, educational centre and creation of a community garden and orchard with help from local colleges..

They will keep the existing five staff employed at the centre on Moor Valley, with plans to boost the workforce by 15 people this year.

Rebecca Robinson, director and head of the corporate team at law firm Wake Smith negotiated the purchase with solicitor Joe Creasor, while commercial property director Paul Gibbon dealt with the property elements including simultaneous purchases of the freehold from the owner and the leasehold bungalow.

Lydia Sadler from Sheffield planning advisors DLP Planning Ltd is leading on the masterplan for the site.

Rev Walker, who recently sold his interest in Lancashire-based wastewater monitoring specialists Detectronic, and his son William, acquired all the shares in Globerock Ltd, trading as Birley Moor Garden Centre, through their company Maranta Leuconeura Ltd – which is the Latin name for the Prayer Plant.

Rev Walker, who is vicar at St John the Evangelist Church in Ridgeway, said: “The garden centre has always had a sentimental place in my heart since I first went there as a six year old, with my dad. He used to buy his tomato plants and compost from there. My schoolfriends have really fond memories of going there.

“Former owner Chris has done a great job and has kept the spirit of community alive at the centre. Now he has retired, he says he has passed the baton onto me.

“I’m all about community engagement and this project will focus on the garden centre, the cafe and the community hub.

“We have already reworked some of the centre and the renowned aquatics centre will keep providing crucial knowledge, products and fish to keen enthusiasts. A community garden and orchard will allow more people to enjoy the space and encourage biodiversity.”

Plans for the centre, which has been on the site of the former Old Dent Colliery Mine since 1977, include sustainable drainage, eco roofs, solar and renewable energy and a water course project to reuse water and prevent flooding.

Wake Smith’s Rebecca Robinson said:  “The purchase is a wonderful opportunity for Dave and William and we were happy to work on this project with them. We look forward to continuing to advise and support them in delivering the their vision for the community.”

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