CONTRACTS have been exchanged in the sale of the Leasowes historic walled garden to the Hales Owen Abbey Trust.

The move follows several months of negotiations between the trust and Bimingham Metropolitan College, which inherited the garden when it took over Stourbridge College.

The facility had been used by the college’s special needs horticultural students until they were moved to Kidderminster two years ago.

The trust plans to restore it to its former glory when it was used to grow food to feed the family of Edward Horne and his servants from the 1770s.

Trust secretary Mick Freer said: “The trust is pleased to announce that we have exchanged contracts with Birmingham Metropolitan College in respect of the purchase of the 18th century walled garden at the Leasowes.

“We shall take possession within three months with full payment of the purchase price being required within that timescale.”

He said the price paid was commercially sensitive as other parties had bidded for the 1.85 acre garden.

Mr Freer said: “Whilst we have most of the money, we did identify a shortfall of £20,000 to find. With donations from the public, The Friends of the Leasowes, Dudley Council and A J Mucklow plc, we are close to having the funds.

“Other fundraising initiatives are taking place. There is no doubt that we shall get there.”

Fundraising will continue towards the restoration of the site and opening it to the public.

Mr Freer added: “It will be complimentary to William Shenstone’s Leasowes, which is a Grade 1 listed garden. The site will be dedicated to the public in perpetuity.

“The trust wishes to thank all parties who have been supportive."