It’s a very good scheme," said Ravenscroft. "Wyevale have three options of rebuilding it. Economic conditions will decide whether they do it all in one go. They have planning permission for a lot of sites and are taking a long-term view.
Ravenscroft said he was very glad Wyevale have a new concentration on being growers, adding that his own nursery is now selling to the garden centre chain.
It is understood Wyevale is keen on the rebuild because some of the original buildings are 40 years old and are difficult to insure as retail buildings because they were built as nursery glasshouses.
Wyevale bought the 53ha Bridgemere site, believed to be its top site for turnover, from Ravenscroft in 2006.
Last week, the 123-centre chain unveiled plans for a multi-million rebuild including an environmentally sustainable main greenhouse, improved retail spaces, new customer restaurant and cafes, timber-framed buildings, improved road access and better parking.
A Wyevale representative said: We have not made a planning application – last weekend’s event was a public exhibition of proposals for a redevelopment which will give the public an opportunity to see the plans in outline before an application is submitted before the end of the year.
When a planning application is made, it will enter the usual lengthy process and it will be some time before it is either approved or not approved.
Only at that stage, at least a year and maybe 18 months away, will Wyevale and its partners make a decision on whether to go ahead.
Ravenscroft won the Garden Retail lifetime achievement award in 2006.