IoG Saltex move welcomed on Twitter

Twitter users have reacted positively to yesterday's announcement that a smaller two-day IoG Saltex will be held at the Birmingham NEC from next year.

Saltex visitors enjoying the sunshine at Windsor Racecourse last year. Photo: Alex Deverill
Saltex visitors enjoying the sunshine at Windsor Racecourse last year. Photo: Alex Deverill

People, including long-time exhibitors were surprised at the news yesterday morning, after the Institute of Groundsmanship (IoG) kept the move - from a three-day September show at the current site in Windsor Racecourse - under wraps.

Glendale commercial director Stuart called it "an interesting development" on the social media site, while he and head gardener Andrew Wain agreed the central location was attractive, with Wain saying it would be "much better to get to for a lot of people."

According to Birmingham NEC, which calls itself the number one exhibition venue in the UK, 75 per cent of the UK population within a three-hour drive of the venue.

It has space for 16,500 vehicles in its car park and shares a dedicated train station with Birmingham International airport.

The venue, which hosts the BBC Gardeners World Live show, offers 186,000 square metres of indoor space and more than 160 acres of hard-standing and 75 acres of woodland.

IoG Saltex attracts a range of visitors from across the sports turf, parks, play and landscape sectors with parts of its target market overlapping with Bigga's Turf Management Exhibition (BTME) held in Harrogate in January.

The Parks Alliance was among the organisations to wish the IoG well with the move, tweeting: "Will miss boat ride in Windsor but this is a positive move to a much larger event."

While Parks Alliance chairman and director of park operations at the London Legacy Development Corporation, Mark Camley, said it was a "great opportunity to set a new benchmark for industry events".

Parks consultant Bob Ivison said it was a positive decision.

And Penelope Parker from horticultural charity Perennial also welcomed the idea, pointing out that the new date, in November would no longer clash with garden industry trade show Four Oaks.

However elsewhere some sounded a note of caution.

Pitchcare managing director Dave Saltman, who has previously suggested a move to the Midlands for the show, called the decision ambitious on his blog.

"While this move represents positive intent, the sheer scale of the NEC and the fact the IOG seem to have decided they have the pull power to make the venue and event a success leaves many questions unanswered, not least how the show will compete for industry support and attendees against BIGGA's Harrogate show, just ten weeks apart."

Groundscare Products’ director Paul Errington called it "a retrograde step" on The Landscape Juice Network.

He is exhibiting for the eighth year at Saltex but said he was not sure if he would attend in future.

He added: "Suppliers like the opportunity of showing their machinery working, and visitors enjoy watching it."

For the full story, see the next issue of Horticulture Week.

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