Pleydell Smithyman has completed two retail developments, at Ruxley Manor Garden Centre in Kent and Wilmslow Garden Centre in Cheshire, showcasing catering as important parts of the offer at each.
The design and business consultancy worked on converting Ruxley Manor's Mulberry Tree Restaurant from a warehouse following a fire after refurbishing the garden centre's offices. Pleydell worked on planning, design, project managing and corporate identity.
At Klondyke's Wilmslow outlet, which burnt down in 2011, Pleydell obtained planning permission for a new centre with open side canopy and a new restaurant.
Director Paul Pleydell said "maximising the commercial potential" of garden centres is his aim. He added that the business has redeveloped several fire-hit centres including Country Market Garden Centre and Knights Nags Hall and said the firm is experienced in dealing with loss adjusters and assessors.
Meanwhile, Poundbury Garden Centre has opened a new orangery. The Gardens Group-operated centre in Dorset had the link between its restaurant and garden centre overseen by landlord the Duchy of Cornwall.
Malcolm Scott Consultants said a main trend for 2013 will be garden centres wanting to expand their restaurants, which may need to open separately from the garden centres.
This poses the question of whether, from a planning point of view, the restaurant will in future be seen as ancillary or as a use in its own right, and therefore need specific justification.
10.2% - Percentage increase in catering category sales among Garden Centre Association members in 2012 compared with 2011