Bicester Avenue scale now unlikely

HPW director and Rosebourne Garden Centres planner Gary Wilburn has said: "It is unlikely people will be building garden centre sites on the scale of Bicester Avenue again."

Wilburn, who helped deliver Bicester Avenue for Wyevale Garden Centres in 2007, is working on plans from former Garden & Leisure chief executive Neville Prest, Beckworth Emporium's Jon Kitching and industry veteran Charles Good for several food-led garden centres in the Beckworth model.

The first is a 3,500sq m building at Andover on the former Weyhill Nurseries site. Garden Park Investments (GPI) had planning as a garden centre site but no-one took up the option.

HPW is now resubmitting the planning application to change it towards the Beckworth aesthetic of local, honest, simple and focused on horticulture.

The Rosebourne centre could be open in 2016, with another in a southern location open in 2017, followed by further centres on the Beckworth model. Wilburn first worked with Kitching on Jardinerie centres more than 20 years ago.

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