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Van Hage garden centre backs out of Waitrose plan

Published: 15 December 2014
Hertfordshire garden centre Van Hage's plans for a joint development with Waitrose have been thrown into disarray.
Van Hage garden centre backs out of Waitrose plan
In March this year the Great Amwell garden centre unveiled plans that would have seen a new 25,000sq ft branch of the supermarket move onto Van Hage's site. However, as reported in the latest issue of DIY Week, the proposal was recommended for refusal by planning officers - and now Van Hage has withdrawn its application.

However, the company is likely to come back with an amended plan at a later date.

Had the original scheme gone ahead, Waitrose would have closed its existing store in Hertford, but the planners said that that would damage Hertford, Ware and Hoddesdon town centres and that a new development at the garden centre would be inappropriate for a green belt area. They also pointed to the fact that shoppers would need to use cars to get to the supermarket at Van Hage.

For Van Hage the development would have created an improved car park, a new 100-seater café and better facilities, plus boosted footfall.

Following Van Hage's decision to back out of the plan, a Waitrose spokesman said: "Van Hage has withdrawn its application in light of the officers' report and to allow further consideration of the scheme before resubmitting at a later date.

"There were certain matters, particularly highways, that Van Hage felt could be positively resolved. However this was not possible by the meeting of the planning committee.

"Council officers would not agree to a deferral to allow these matters to be resolved so Van Hage were left with no choice but to withdraw the application."

Talking to DIY Week Garden Retail Leaders earlier this year, Van Hage managing director Chris Roberts said that the joint development would "guarantee the future of the site...The profile mix will be really good for the business...Having a supermarket on the site could be a model for garden centres going forward."


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