Garden Centre Group give up Peter Barratt site as planning delays threaten centre takeover

Garden Centre Group is giving up the lease on the former Peter Barratt-owned Beverley Garden Centre in Humberside and planning issues are delaying a new tenant moving in to the site.

Former Peter Barratt-owned Beverley Garden Centre in Humberside - image: Key Growing
Former Peter Barratt-owned Beverley Garden Centre in Humberside - image: Key Growing

The lease on the £4m, five-year-old premises is due to expire on 15 January.

Another garden centre chain wants to take over and save all 60 jobs. The then Wyevale bought the Beverley centre in 2007 as part of a £50m spending spree.

Landlord Key Growing MD Jon Los said:

"GCG have a break clause of six months that ends on 15 January. The issue is they’re for sale and that coincides with the timing of renewing and altering the lease. The garden centre is trading ok but they couldn’t make it work in the timeframe.

"We have reached heads of agreement with a garden centre group but the problem is the incoming tenant would like to have a slightly different planning permission to sell arts and crafts and that’s very difficult tin this climate. We’ve seen garden centres 20 years old have no restrictions but newer ones have restrictions and we’re trying to address that."

Los said that is the current prospective buyer backs out another one could step in:

"We have to have someone in because it’s a £4m building and will be empty. We’re looking for anyone out there who is interested though we hope we have an agreement with them. It’s one of the newest built garden centres in six acres and is operating with food retailing. It’s sad in this climate we couldn’t get people’s heads together to pass this quickly."

East Riding Council needs to approve a detailed planning application about what can be sold at the site. The application is due to be discussed by the council's planning committee on December 15 – the date redundancy notices could be handed out if the deal falls through.

Council head of planning and development management Pete Ashcroft said: "The application is still up for consideration. If it needs to be reported to a planning committee meeting that would be on December 15."

Beverley Garden Centre already sells many of the items in question but goods like clothing, for example, are specifically excluded from the present list of what can be sold.

Los said Charles Stubbs of British Garden Centres had shown interest but said they were not the group taking over. He added that the prospective owner was not Blue Diamond, Klondyke, Notcutts, Planters or Dobbies either.

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