Garden centre owners call off sale to Webbs

Change of heart will see garden centre retain its old style character.

The £5m redevelopment of a Coventry garden centre has been dropped after planning delays led the owner to halt its sale to Webbs. A “significant amount” of money has been spent by Worcestershire-based Webbs on holding consultations and designing plans to redevelop Russells Garden Centre, Baginton. Webbs had planned to lodge an application soon and, once permission was granted, buy the centre. But Russells general manager Tim Jardine said the time for Webbs to complete the deal had elapsed so the owners, brothers Brian and David Russell, decided to invest in the nursery. They wanted to retain the “old-fashioned garden centre feel”, rather than turn it into a destination centre, Jardine said. New plans were being drawn up and planned work included sealing the car park and increasing the covered retail space. Webbs executive chairman Ed Webb cited the “long and arduous” planning process as one of the reasons why the sale fell through. “It’s disappointing but it’s symptomatic of the vagaries of trying to achieve planning in the greenbelt and there is always a risk to that. It’s a shame because I think we had a good pitch and vision for the site.”

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