Bunnings UK and Ireland (BUKI) has opened three stores in Kent since its acquirement of Homebase in February 2016, with stores in Thanet, Sittingbourne and Folkestone. Despite an unscheduled review of BUKI by parent company Wesfarmers in February, determining the business as "below expectations" and the potential for the Australian giant to exit from the UK altogether, a planning application was submitted to Ashford Borough Council last month to build Bunnings' first purpose built UK store in Ashford, Kent.
In the planning and retail statement compiled by Indigo Planning on behalf of the developers, Castle City Ltd, it states: "It is proposed to develop the site to provide a new retail warehouse park, together with associated car parking, landscaping, access and servicing. The retail park will provide a hub to purchase DIY and home improvement goods, outdoor living goods, furniture and household goods. The retail terrace will comprise five units, anchored by a 4,766sqm Bunnings unit with outdoor living garden centre/nursery and builders’ merchants. The four other units in the terrace will be 3,558sqm (Units 1 to 4)."
Car parking will be provided in front of the retail terrace, with 365 car parking spaces proposed. Disabled parking will be provided in accordance with relevant policy requirements.
There will be a drive thru Costa coffee south of the retail terrace. This will serve visitors to the site.
There will also be a unit of 199sqm which will be occupied by "Vets for Pets". This standalone unit will be on the west of the site, north west of the John Lewis at Home car park.
"Bunnings range and profile is comparable to that of B&Q and Homebase and they will compete directly with large DIY/home improvement operators. The stores provide warehouse style retailing and include a dedicated trade space and garden centre/nursery within their largest format stores. Bunnings are an established Australian brand, with almost 250 stores across Australia and New Zealand and sales in excess of $AUD10 billion."