Funding troubles ensnare Hare Hatch Sheeplands expansion plans

Hare Hatch Sheeplands garden centre in Berkshire is looking for new funding after being "let down" by backer AMC in its expansion plans.

Co-owner Rob Scott said: “We just had a problem with AMC [a financial services provider} which has been a bit awkward. We can’t get as much as we were hoping for, for the current round of developments.

“We’ve been rather let down by AMC so we need to get the masterplan together to be able to show what we’re doing and get new funding.

Scott added: “Funding is one of the problems we have to grapple with. It’s a circular argument. We need a planning consent to attract concessions but they won’t come on board until we get a planning consent. But we’ll only be able to borrow the money once we have cast iron concessions on board.”

Scott has appointed Pleydell Smithyman to draw up a masterplan for the whole site, which has been dogged by planning problems for years.

Pleydell will take care of planning for the garden centre side of the business. It has permission from Wokingham Borough Council for a coffee shop and farm shop but can only sell homegrown plants in its garden centre. A new butcher is opening in November.

Scott said the time was now right for expansion with the number of shop customers having increased by 25 per cent on last year.

Scott and co-owner Andrew Cardy, who runs the farm shop, joined forces last year. The council’s planners turned down both requests despite overwhelming support from the businessmen’s customers with a petition signed by 2,500 people.

But earlier this year, a government inspector allowed both plans on appeal, despite the council’s insistence the coffee shop and farm shop should not be allowed because the site is inside the green belt.

Scott bought the nursery site of Hare Hatch Sheeplands in 1992 and then began developing it as a garden centre.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Read These Next

How big are the UK and Europe's apple and pear harvests likely to be?

How big are the UK and Europe's apple and pear harvests likely to be?

After a sizeable dip last year, Europe's apple harvest looks to be back on track, and could even break recent records. But the wider global situation means it should find a ready market.

What is the future for glyphosate?

What is the future for glyphosate?

The horticulture industry has defended glyphosate after a landmark US court case saw chemical company Monsanto ordered to pay $289m (£226m) damages to a groundskeeper who claimed herbicides containing glyphosate had caused his cancer.

Should more be done to address farm thefts and other crimes?

Should more be done to address farm thefts and other crimes?

The cost of vehicle thefts from farms is rising, while trust in the police's ability to deal with rural crime is in decline, two new reports show.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +

Horticulture Week Top UK FRUIT PRODUCERS

See our exclusive RANKING of UK Fruit Producers by annual turnover plus the FULL REPORT AND ANALYSIS.

Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Professor Geoffrey Dixon

GreenGene International chair Geoff Dixon on the business of fresh produce production

Read Professor Geoffrey Dixon