In a bid to grow its garden offer at stores across the UK, the supermarket giant has applied for planning permission to erect a new glazed garden centre structure at its branch off Brenner Road, on the Wardentree Lane industrial estate.
The proposal is for a new PPC aluminium frame main structural unit with Perspex sheet glazing with a curved roof, sliding doors and an external roller shutter.
Morrisons already operates 90 garden centres across its network of stores, which are open in the warmer months, offering in-season plants, trees, shrubs, bedding trays, seeds, soils and saplings, pots and gifts. The supermarket giant also claims to have “friendly experts on hand” to advise customers on their garden purchases. The retailer has also launched an online lifestyle blog to offer customers inspiration for flowers, outdoor living and gardening.
It follows news that grocer Waitrose saw a 21% uplift in outdoor plants last week and has made significant investment in growing its online side of the business, which includes a dedicated garden website.
Morrisons' proposed 45sq m structure, which will be similar in appearance to the existing trolley storage, will be located in an area of the Pinchbeck store’s car park directly opposite the main entrance. Garden products are already sold near the main entrance on pallets and trolleys but the new structure would give these goods a more permanent home and protect against “adverse weather conditions” says the company.
The proposal for the store, which boasts a revamped cafe inside, also includes a new pedestrian crossing, including associated signage, dropped kerbs and tactile paving to provide access to the garden centre.
In a statement issued by a spokesperson, Morrisons said: “In addition to their regular shop, customers tell us that they want useful services available at our stores.
"In response, we have installed our popular seasonal garden centre at Pinchbeck, which offers a range of outdoor plants and gardening accessories.”
A statement on behalf of Morrisons submitted to the council says the plan will allow the company to "enhance the customer experience by increasing the range on offer", and provide the store with a new garden centre facility that “can adapt to their changing needs throughout the year”.
The latest application follows a similar proposal put forward to the Isle of Wight Council retrospectively for a garden centre structure Morrisons has already been built at its store in Lake. The 48sq m centre resembles a trolley bay and is set to sell plants, pots and gardening equipment – some of which is already being sold from the main store’s foyer area at present.
Lake Parish Council has, so far, objected to the supermarket’s plans to open a garden centre citing road safety problems and has also raised concerns about the removal of several car parking spaces.