RHS Garden Bridgewater planning

The fifth RHS Garden cleared its final planning hurdle in June 2017 and work started on our exciting project

Our new, fifth RHS Garden in Salford, Greater Manchester was granted full planning permission in summer 2017, allowing work on the £30 million project to begin.

Permission was agreed in principle by Salford City Council in April but plans had to go before the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government due to the Green Belt status of the site. However, the Government decided not to 'call in' the plans.

RHS Director General Sue Biggs said: 'We are delighted with this hugely positive news, which will allow us to progress plans for the biggest gardening project in Europe and create our first new garden in 17 years. It will be truly unique, unlike any of the other gardens in our portfolio, as it boasts a range of habitats from woods and lakes to streams and meadows.
‘This news means we can fully embrace our ambition to create one of the most beautiful and inspiring gardens in Britain.’

Team moves on site

A team of RHS staff has now moved into an office on site and has started to get the know the garden thoroughly. Key activities include cataloguing the condition and significance of the existing individual trees and plants, identifying invasive weeds and understanding the ecology of the site.

The garden's curator, Marcus Chilton-Jones has been assessing the woodland, including around 12 ha (30 acres) of overgrown rhododendrons. With the help of the North West branch of the Rhododendron, Magnolia and Camellia Group, Marcus has been identifying them as they come into flower, so that he can plan which to keep and which invasive species with need to be removed.

The plans for Bridgewater

The plans for RHS Garden Bridgewater include designs for a new Welcome Building at the 154-acre site, provided by architects Hodder+Partners, who have designed a world-class visitor centre which will provide a gateway to the gardens, as well as designs for the re-use of existing buildings for catering, garden centre and retail purposes. Landscape architect Tom Stuart-Smith, has produced the master plan for the site.

See how the garden will look


Sue Biggs, RHS Director General added: 'The RHS Vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place, and RHS Garden Bridgewater is the living embodiment of that vision. We have huge ambitions for the garden in terms of making it an amazing horticultural location, for the enormous benefits that it can bring for health and wellbeing, and for the scope it has to engage the next generation about their environment and gardening.'

Planning process timeline

June 2017 - Full and final planning approval given

RHS team moves on site and further recruitment begins


January 2017 - Planning permission granted

Planning permission is granted in principle. The application is referred to the Secretary of State due to the green belt status of the site.

November 2016 - Public consultation -

In November 2016 the RHS hosted two public consultation days. More than 600 people attended and gave helpful feedback on the consultation boards (4.5MB pdf) on display at the events.

December 2016 - Planning application

The RHS submitted its planning application to develop RHS Garden Bridgewater in December 2016. This stage of the garden development included the drawing up of several hundred pages of documents, drawings and plans which were accessible online to the public.

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.