Traffic-stopped nursery grows on

Production starts again at Kentish site following total rebuild and threat of increased competition

The first crop of bedding plants is being grown under the cover of a new one-hectare glasshouse at a 150-year-old nursery in Kent. This crop follows a four-year halt to production after road-builders re-routed the A2 through the original buildings of Springhead Nurseries in Gravesend. The site has a rich local history and has been in the Elliot family for around 100 years. It was once host to pleasure gardens and a tearoom with a resident monkey. During the redevelopment, remains of a Roman temple were discovered. The nursery used to concentrate on the production of watercress but later diversified into bedding plants and hanging baskets. However, the biggest changes seen by the nursery are the developments that have occurred during the past four years. As well as redevelopment, greater competition has also increased pressure on the nursery. Sainsbury’s is understood to be planning a Homebase nearby. The nursery has also built its new automated glasshouses on one side of the A2, opposite Millbrook Garden Centre. Owner Anne Elliot said: “We are very much a family-run nursery and we don’t intend to keep up with the competition by turning into a garden centre. We have our regular customers and once work to the A2 is finished we’ll be getting noticed.” Work continues at the site and Elliot expects less stressful times ahead when the glasshouse is fully operational later this year.

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