THOUSANDS of bricks, homegrown at Oxford's Westgate Centre, will soon be transported to Oxford City Farm for a series of new building projects.

Westgate Oxford Alliance, owner of the new £440m Westgate shopping centre, has offered trustees at the farm in East Oxford the grand total of 18,000 unwanted bricks.

A 6ft sign opposite the Bonn Square entrance announced the partnership, with developer Westgate Oxford Alliance revealing it had donated the bricks from the old Westgate Centre.

Earlier this year, a decade after seeds were first sown, Oxford City Farm finally signed a lease on its own farmyard in Florence Park.

Fresh produce is now being grown at the farm, including pumpkins which are being kept in a container donated by the Sandford Lock hydro scheme.

Oxford City Farm chairwoman of trustees Lucie Mayer said: "At first we got in touch to ask if the shopping centre had any old bike hoops they didn’t need but in the end the council gave them to us.

"Then Westgate Oxford Alliance came back and offered us 30,000 bricks but we said we didn't need that many and agreed on 18,000.

"It’s an amazing offer and the bricks could be used for new outbuildings, a toilet block, a seating area and to replace boundary walls.

"We are very pleased that the shopping centre is supporting us in this way - we are very much in the business of re-using and recycling material so this fits in with our ethos and it should save us thousands of pounds."

Bricks donated from the Westgate Centre could be used to make the city farm more secure.

In June vandals smashed a beehive, broke into a shed and poured washing up liquid into the pigs’ water.

Ms Mayer added: "We have been targeted by vandals on a few occasions so this donation will help us to make the whole place more secure.

"We are very pleased that we now have this working relationship with the Westgate Centre - we are keen to work with local businesses to achieve our aims."

In March the East Oxford group signed a 40-year agreement with Oxfordshire County Council to run the 2.3-acre site off Cornwallis Road in Florence Park.

The Oxford City Farm group now has eight trustees, a steering group of 12, 220 people on its mailing list and 800 followers on Facebook.

The group has used the land for years, clearing brambles, setting up a beehive and harvesting their first honey.

A board advertising the agreement between Westgate Oxford Alliance and the city farm has been erected near Bonn Square, opposite the entrance to the new centre.

It said: "30,000 bricks from the old Westgate shopping centre have been given to the City Farm project to use to make new buildings and boundary walls."

On Saturday volunteers celebrated the farm's first ever harvest day.

See tomorrow's paper for more pictures from the farm, as volunteers unveil their first vegetable crop.