Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Think Big' Says Green-Fingered Entrepreneur; Sir John's Plan for Biggest Rose Garden in Europe

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Think Big' Says Green-Fingered Entrepreneur; Sir John's Plan for Biggest Rose Garden in Europe

Article excerpt

Byline: Rob Pattinson

TYCOON Sir John Hall yesterday urged the region to follow his lead and invest in "big ideas" as he unveiled plans to create the largest rose garden in Europe.

The project, which will now be submitted for planning permission, will realise the entrepreneur's dream for a garden-based tourist attraction within the grounds of his Wynyard estate, similar to the Alnwick Garden, in Northumberland.

Sir John announced the finished project would create 100 new jobs in the area and, as one of the top five biggest rose gardens in the world, would attract tourists from across the globe.

His determination to press ahead with the project, which he describes as his final legacy to the region, comes despite the continued slump in the economy and his own recent treatment for prostate cancer. Sir John, 77, said the looming cuts meant it was crucial businesses in the region start preparing for a recovery in three to five years' time.

The man who built the Metrocentre added that the demise of regional development agency One North East had accelerated the need for leadership and creativity among business leaders and investors in the area.

The reinvigorated former Newcastle United supremo said: "I would be delighted if others took inspiration from my plan for the garden and came up with their own big ideas for the future. That's what the region needs now, it's own identity. For me Passionate People Passionate Places is one of the most successful tourism campaigns anywhere. We need to continue that and pull together and work as one.

"I'm very excited about this garden. People will come from all over the country and stay in the local hotels and use local facilities. The benefit will extend well beyond Wynyard."

Plans for the new rose garden, drawn up by renowned designer Simon Dorrell, will see the Wynyard estate's two-acre walled garden and an adjacent site, formerly an Italian Garden under the ownership of the Londonderrys, turned into a year-round tourist attraction.

Simon Dorrell, who has seen two of his previous garden designs ranked among the 10 best in the country, said his inspiration for the attraction was to create a "highly-scented" and "romantic" atmosphere. …

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