Hayes aims to bounce back with World of Plants

The £5m three-year World of Plants project at Hayes Garden World garden centre in Ambleside, Cumbria, is complete and will make the once market-leading venue great again, according to retail director Keith Laird.

National Structures made the curved canopies, while Smiemans was responsible for glasshouse construction. Malcolm Scott Consultants guided planning permission and designed the 4,220sq m development.

Laird said: "It will be up and running by the end of the month. We plan to stop for the summer and look at finances to do the next phases we have in planning."

He added: "We can put in a coffee shop, plant information centre and franchises and add another section of glass to sell plants. At the moment, the new area will house aquatics, fencing and pot displays. We have been talking to First Franchise about franchises but none are decided yet.

"We were falling behind new garden centres. Twenty years ago, we were at the forefront, but we hadn't made the big investment that some others had.

"There's a lot more competition so we have to offer something special for the customer. Footfall and sales are up and we nearly hit budget in 2011."

Laird said competition from Dobbies, Klondyke and Barton Grange as well as other activities in the Lake District such as Go Ape were taking up people's time. "We need another reason for people to come here," he added.

CENTRE OFFERING NEW FEATURES, EXTENSIONS AND FUTURE ADDITIONS

New building features after completion of the first phase of World of Plants:

- An 800sq m pets and aquatics department.

- An increased outdoor and indoor furniture department of 930sq m.

- An increased terracotta and outdoor ornament offer of 560sq m.

- An increased garden sundries offer of 240sq m.

- An increased undercover outdoor plant offer in the region of 1,670sq m.

Possible third-party franchises:

- Country Casuals

- Antler Luggage

- Raleigh Bikes

Now in the garden centre:

- Yeoman's Outdoors

- Edinburgh Woollen Mill


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