Trelawney Garden Leisure may have to wait until September to get confirmation of whether it has been successful in gaining approval for a £6.5m garden centre.
A Planning Inspectorate hearing was held last month after the ODPM called in the development, planned for a site near Truro in Cornwall, despite Restormel Borough Council granting permission 18 months ago. The ODPM wanted a hearing because of potential conflict with Planning Policy Guidance 6 retail development rules. The main issue was the sale of non-gardening goods at a site away from the town centre.
Trelawney managing director David Danning said that restricting what could be sold to just plants or gardening goods raised questions of feasibility: “To open all year round, we have to have something else to sell during the quiet times.
“It’s a bit galling when you look at the range that supermarkets can stock. You can buy anything from a television to plants — food is probably the last thing on the list.”
He had offered to set the amount of space for non-gardening products, but said: “They are really looking at a level that would take garden centres back to the 1960s and give us no chance to compete.”
Danning has spent more than £100,000 on the project, but is philosophical about the potential outcome. He said: “I’ve learnt to be very patient. But councils have to make up their minds. If they want full-time employment, they have to allow garden centres to have something to sell.”
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