Design is finalised for Bradford Royal Infirmary garden

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: An artist's impression of the design An artist's impression of the design

Work on Bradford’s first hospital healing garden could be completed in time for spring, sowing the seeds for others across the city.

The idea for the garden which will take root at the Bradford Royal Infirmary’s Duke of York entrance opposite Orthopedics was the brainchild of ENT and neck surgeon Chris Bem.

In the new year, the opportunity to construct the garden will go out to tender in the hope the garden, subject to funding, will be completed in time to flourish for the spring.

Mr Bem was inspired to get a space created in the BRI grounds after hearing from patients and their families that there was no where for them to sit and think.

He had also been to a permaculture conference looking at how people in today’s world have lost connection with the natural world and need to be re-connected.

“Health is a lot about the environment, where we work, how we live and our relationship with nature and the world. I put that and patients’ comments about needing a special space together,” he said.

The idea has been developed with landscaping students at Leeds Metropolitan University who came up with a number of designs after talks with the hospital’s estates staff and gardeners.

Elements from those ideas have now been put into a draft design and will be presented to the hospital in January before it goes out to tender.

Mr Bem is hoping the Duke of York garden will be just the start of a number of healing gardens at the teaching trust’s other hospitals.

“It will be a place where people will like to linger and feel healthy. Hopefully this will be the beginning of new ideas about healing gardens in Bradford,” he said.

Ideas for the new garden so far include long grass beds, nestled seating areas, a central sculpture and meandering paths.

Landscape architecture and garden design students at the university have been working with communities across Yorkshire for 40 years taking on more than 150 design challenges, including the BRI’s healing garden, to date.

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