Heathrow garden centre threatened by airport expansion plan

Ansell Garden Centre in West Drayton near Heathrow Airport may have to close depending on whether Heathrow's third runway, recommended today, is finally built.

The government has approved a third runway at Heathrow to expand UK airport capacity.

A public consultation will now be held on the effects of airport expansion before the government makes a final decision as part of a national policy statement on aviation.

MPs will then vote on that decision in the winter of 2017-18. It is unlikely that any new runway capacity would be operational before 2025.

Construction is not likely to begin until 2020 or 2021, the Airports Commission has said.

Ansell managing director Paresh Raithatha said: "The decision has just come out so we're not sure where we stand. It's still only a recommendation and they keep recommending this but have not got on with it."

He added that what happens to the centre, which he took over 13 years ago, "depends on the plans. Some take us out completely. If it goes ahead we wouldn't be here in the same way as we are now. A lot of routes here would go and people would have to travel a lot further around, which in commercial terms would be a nightmare."

Raithatha said the centre's online business could continue and that ordering for 2017 had gone ahead and it would be "business as usual" for 2017 at least. He said last year saw 14 per cent growth.

He added: "We have seen positive growth every year since we have been here and we're still growing, so why stop?"

He said the centre could be compulsory purchased eventually but there were still lots of questions around the decision, adding that once he knows he may look at other sites.

Raithatha said any Brexit-induced price rises had yet to kick in and that the industry could do with some inflation after years of lowering prices, such as Christmas lights at £49.99 two years ago and £29.99 this year. He said any wholesale price rises would depend on the state of sterling in 3-6 months when their hedged currency runs out.

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