Ambitious garden centre plans set to grow 300 jobs at dazzling business

East Durham Garden Centre, between Easington and South Hetton on the A182
East Durham Garden Centre, between Easington and South Hetton on the A182

A garden centre’s staff could grow from 10 to 300 if plans to expand the business are approved.

East Durham Garden Centre on the edge of Easington Village hopes to create a bigger shopping area, along with a playbarn, restaurant, orangery and replacement manager’s accommodation.

We purchase centres that are in a neglected, declining state and turn them around, in a very short space of time, into thriving garden centres in the heart of communities.

British Garden Centres

It comes after British Garden Centres took over the business, previously Plants ‘R’ Ross in South Hetton Road, decided to invest in its latest venture.

The business employs the equivalent of 10 full-time staff, but says it could generate 250 more and another 50 part-time jobs if its planning application is approved by Durham County Council next Tuesday.

The plans also include a bigger and resurfaced car park for 448 spaces, with conditions set down so that it would also feature electric car charging points, cycle storage bays and an agreed workplace travel plan.

The family-owned British Garden Centres has been run by brothers Charles and Robert Stubbs and Charles’s wife Phillipa since 1990 and now owns nine centres across the country.

The firm says it has “very strong family and community values” which it believes is key to the success of the business.

Its statement to planners says: “We purchase centres that are in a neglected, declining state and turn them around, in a very short space of time, into thriving garden centres in the heart of communities.

“We always keep on any existing staff and then very quickly add to this, creating jobs within both our restaurants and in the garden centre for people in the local area, together with using local contractors and businesses to supply materials and labour during the redevelopments.
“We always aim to provide a friendly community-based environment for people to come and enjoy with high quality food in the cafes and a good selection of product at fair prices in the garden centres.

“We enjoy the festive time of year and usually run Santa’s grottos and Christmas displays, then in the spring and summer months we like to hold planting events and children’s gardening days which help engage the local people in what we do.”

The council’s planners have recommended approval and says it would “generate significant job creation” and would secure the future of the business.

It says the proposals are acceptable in principle because there is already a garden centre in that location, with no concerns raised about highways, ecology or landscape, but has drawn up a series of conditions.

The plan will be discussed on Tuesday, June 6, at 1pm in the council chamber of the authority’s offices in Spennymoor.