Chelsea Gardener set to take over Fulham Palace Garden Centre

London garden centre The Chelsea Gardener is planning to take over the Church Commissioners' Fulham Palace Garden Centre.

Fulham Palace Garden Centre has been empty since 2014 after the Prince's Trust charity closed it down.

After controversial attempts to lease the centre to Pets at Home failed, the west London garden centre now has a new tenant.

The Chelsea Gardener will now have two west London sites, including its Sydney St site in Chelsea, which has a new lease.

The Fulham Palace West London site was formerly run by the Fairbridge Garden & Arts Society (FGAS), which was formed in 1993 to raise funds for Fairbridge, the parent charity, and to promote the Fulham Palace Garden Centre, which Fairbridge set up to help train disadvantaged young people. In April 2011, Fairbridge merged with The Prince’s Trust. The garden centre had operated in a purpose-built building since March 1985, reaching a turnover of £900,000 a year.

After closing the centre, The Prince's Trust failed to find a non-garden centre buyer with the Pets at Home deal falling through amid local protests.

Following being empty for two years, The Prince's Trust sold the centre for £1.275m to the Church Commissioners in May 2016, saying the site "wasn't financially viable".

At the time of closing the garden centre, The Prince’s Trust said it closed the business because it "is not a core part of The Trust’s operations and, with this in mind, we are looking at leasing the site as this will be the best way to raise funds in support of more young people".

The Trust bought two-thirds of the lease for Fulham Palace Garden Centre from the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham for more than £500,000 in 2013.

A spokesperson for The Prince’s Trust said: "Our priority as a charity is to provide support to help disadvantaged and vulnerable young people into jobs and training. Whilst operating a garden centre was a lovely idea, it wasn’t financially viable for us to do so."

"The site was sold for £1.275 million which could potentially support more than a thousand young people to change their lives."

The Church Commissioners said: "We can confirm the purchase of this land from the Princes' Trust, and the agreement of a deal with a tenant for the garden centre."

The 0.5 acre premises comprise a garden centre, office, workshops and significant external space.

For the Prince's Trust, Colliers International were offering a 15 year full repairing and insuring lease, subject to five-yearly upwards only rent reviews, at a rent in excess of £75,000 per annum exclusive of rates, insurance and VAT (if applicable).


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