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Whitehall Garden Centre plans huge expansion

Published: 13 July 2015
A Wiltshire garden centre has set out plans to triple in size and double its number of employees to over 300.
Whitehall Garden Centre plans huge expansion
Whitehall Garden Centre in Lacock wants to turn itself into a destination centre by expanding its existing 5,000sq ft premises with a 14,000sq ft extension, and broaden its offer of non-gardening lines to minimise seasonal fluctuations.

It also hopes to provide several restaurants and extensive parking, with 360 spaces in a new main car park, 180 overflow spaces, five coach parking spaces and 10 customer collection spaces.

"It is envisaged the new proposals will result in the doubling of employee numbers to a minimum of 312 full/part time permanent and increasing to in excess of 376 to include seasonal workers," said the garden centre.

Planning permission for a redevelopment scheme was granted in 2008 and renewed in 2012 but was not acted upon. Now, the family owners have drawn up new plans, saying they have "considered the levels of competition and customer expectations and also included the future-proofing of our business to ensure its longevity and thus the continuity and expansion of the current employment levels.

"The 2008 scheme as approved did not take consideration of the necessary income streams needed to enable the business to remain competitive as a garden centre 'destination' against other national chain competitors."

Customers and local residents are now being invited to comment on the plans.

Established in 1894, Whitehall Garden Centre is a sixth-generation family business, now run by Peter, Claire, Charlotte and Maddy Self. Managing director Peter's father Christopher, who had been chairman, died last year, soon after the death of Christopher's mother, Phyllis, at the age of 105.

Of the new expansion plans, Peter Self said: "These are challenging and exciting times, the customer expectation is getting even greater, the competition is becoming price driven and moving online. As a family business we are endeavouring to be intuitive and build on the hard work built up by my grandmother and father to further develop the business to serve the local community and visitors to Wiltshire."

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