Dobbies garden centre Carlisle upsizes after economy upturn

Dobbies garden centres is to lodge amended plans for a bigger 5,000sq m store in Carlisle, Cumbria after reassessing the economy in a favourable light.

In January, Dobbies has cut the size of its proposed garden centre by half in a £2.5m cost-cutting move.

Carlisle councillors approved a 6,000sq m store in December 2009 but Dobbies then submitted new plans for a 3,000sq m garden centre to the city council.

The Tesco-owned garden centre chain have now upsized again after saying the economic climate has improved. The cost of the centre has risen from £7.5m to £8m.

Dobbies director of property Stuart Wright said: "As time moves on we're getting the feeling that it probably could be a slightly bigger store. We expect to be lodging an amendment for a store of around 4,645sq m. With the times that we are in we had to think very carefully as to what's appropriate.

"We think that we will hopefully be able to develop a centre not significantly different from that which we originally proposed.

"We had, as a business, a relatively good year and trends in the world of gardening are good. We are keen to continue forward with our expansion and to roll out the centre."

The controversial Carlisle centre is planned as a direct rival for Klondyke's Houghton Hall flagship garden centre, opened in 2006 on the northern outskirts of the city.

Final approval is expected this month and the centre could open in spring 2011.


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