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11. Growing Northern Roots – Delivering social, economic and environmental benefits from urban green space


Northern Roots has been under development for the last three years. The 160- acre site is almost entirely owned by Oldham Council. The ambition for the project is to create the UK’s largest urban farm and eco-park in a way that is both financially self-sustaining, and delivers social, economic and environmental benefits. A planning application will be submitted in early 2021, with a view to commencing capital development in 2021-22. This session will explore the many different dimensions that need to be balanced to achieve the project’s goals, the challenges encountered so far, and the implications for the skills required to successfully deliver this pioneering approach to urban green space.

Anna da Silva

Anna da Silva is Project Director of Northern Roots. Prior to a career in horticulture, Anna worked in journalism and international development within African and Middle Eastern warzones for 15 years. In 2016, Anna joined the RHS to project lead the creation of RHS Garden Bridgewater. She placed particular emphasis on community engagement and the delivery of social value. In 2019, she took on the leadership of the Northern Roots project on behalf of Oldham Council.

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