Highlands garden centre planned

The closure of two garden centres has helped prompt a rural business to propose its own garden retail operation in the Lochaber region.

East Highlands near Ben Nevis range - image: Flickr/Andrew Bowden
East Highlands near Ben Nevis range - image: Flickr/Andrew Bowden

Fair Planning & Design has applied to Highland Council for the erection of a garden centre, restaurant and visitor centre. Applicant is Ross MacGregor for development of 0.78ha of land at Achnabonane near Spean Bridge, for a 1000m2 garden centre, restaurant, petting zoo, trout fishing base, to consolidate activities at the site.

There is a Christmas tree growing operation, trout fishing ponds and deer farm already there.

The application states: "With the closure of garden centres at Torlundy and Fort William's North Road there is a gap in the market within Lochaber."

The application says the planned centre will be a wider experiental development than the closed small urban centres. There would be 12 full-time staff and 40,000-50,000 visitors annually.

Meanwhile, Waterfront Garden Centre in Southsea, Hampshire will open on 15 July. 

The council-run social enterprise garden centre sells plants and outdoor goods and has a nursery to grow plants for sale.  It also provides an opportunity for people with learning disabilities and volunteers to work alongside members of the team to assist with retail and growing and links with community projects, small local businesses and craftspeople to provide an outlet for their products. 

The centre will open from 11-4pm on Saturdays and Sundays, with this extending to include Thursdays and Fridays once volunteer assistance has grown.

#Plans to demolish part of Woodcote Garden Centre in South Oxfordshire and build nine houses at the eastern end of the site have been approved.

Michael Hill, who owns the 2,426 sq m plot, has been granted planning permission for three detached and six semi-detached dwellings plus 22 parking places, two for each property and four for visitors.


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