A NEW public garden is to be created in a joint venture between the prison service and an environmental organisation.

HMP Northallerton is working with Northallerton Environmental Enhancement Initiative (NEEI) on a project to create a green space in the town that will be open to the public.

NEEI was set up to bring more green spaces and wildlife habitats into Northallerton and the prison has offered part of its surrounding land for a project.

The work will involve fencing off the land, installing gates on Crosby Road and East Road and preventing it being used as a public right of way.

It should involve installing bird boxes, benches and additional planting. The prison intends to put up a notice board with the historical background of the prison and its gardens.

Work is to begin towards the end of this month and should last three to four weeks.

The project leaders are keen to hear from any businesses or community groups who would like to sponsor this, or other, projects.

Former Northallerton town councillor and NEEI founder, Doug Doherty, said: “This is an opportunity for the local community to become involved in a forgotten, but historically very important part of Northallerton and to create a green oasis near the heart of the community.”

Any organisations wishing to get involved should email Mr Doherty on doug. doherty@neei. co. UK or visit the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/groups/neei.group/