08:58AM, Friday 26 January 2018
A garden centre which has been a long-standing target for housing under the Borough Local Plan (BLP) is closing.
Squires Garden Centre, in Maidenhead Road, will shut its doors in autumn this year after its directors decided to sell the site.
They blamed an inability to grow the centre and planning restraints regarding the site’s greenbelt status as key reasons for their decision.
A spokeswoman for Squires said: “Over the years the garden centre has had limited ability to maximise its potential partially for physical reasons due to its small car park, which is shared with customers and trucks accessing goods inwards, and also due to planning constraints given its greenbelt status.”
The centre was earmarked as part of the HA11 site for housing in the Borough Local Plan but controversially removed just prior to a Bray Parish Council by election.
The whole HA11 site is earmarked for 450 new homes as part of the council’s pledge to build more than 13,000 houses by 2032 and the garden centre site could once again be earmarked for new homes.
A spokeswoman added: “A number of development businesses expressed interest in buying the site.
“Given the inability to grow in the ways the company would like, these offers were considered seriously and a decision made to sell the site.”
The company thanked its staff for their longstanding commitment and hard work as well as its customers for their support.
Cllr David Coppinger (Con, Bray), cabinet member for planning, said: “Let’s make the assumption that the land is still available.
“You could expect at some time a planning application to be submitted in due course.
“Until the Borough Local Plan is approved, there are no guarantees for it (garden centre) to be built on.”
Squires added that the money received from the site will be reinvested into its other centres with the company saying it would welcome the opportunity to find another site in the Royal Borough.
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