Wednesday, June 14, 2017

News: Rotherham garden centre set to grow

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Business is blooming at the popular Wentworth Garden Centre in Rotherham which has outlined expansion plans that could create 30 new jobs.

The destination garden centre is situated in sixteen acres in the former walled kitchen, Italian and Japanese gardens of Wentworth Woodhouse and in the picturesque historic village of Wentworth.

Established for more than 30 years, the family owned independent centre has undergone a number of improvements and investment projects, with historic gardens, a craft centre, family farm and a landmark 260 seat restaurant.

A planning application has now been submitted for a new courtyard development, replacing the conservatory display area with a new catering facility.

The plans, drawn up by Malcolm Scott Consultants, include a 6,300 sq ft, two storey building for a supplementary restaurant with staff facilities including offices and welfare areas. Walling in the existing canopy will allow the garden centre to optimise floor space in the courtyard shops.

The plans state: "The intention of the facility is to offer existing customers an alternative to the Walled Garden Coffee Shop which will relieve pressure on the existing set up an reduce numbers of people leaving to "lunch" elsewhere rather than waiting."

If approved, the proposed development is expected to add a further 30 employees to the existing 135.

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The garden centre recently obtained planning permission to expand their car park to allow more year round accessible parking.

Based in the Green Belt location, the applicants need to demonstrate very special circumstances why the plans should be approved. In this case, it is based on the job creation and a high quality structure replacing display conservatories. The new development is replacing an area already used for retail and supports the existing permitted business at this site.

The Airey family acquired the garden centre in 1983 and sowed the seeds of a long term vision to create a "destination garden centre with a difference aimed at all ages and interests from young families to senior gardening connoisseurs."
Wentworth Woodhouse is one of the country's grandest stately homes. The Grade I listed mansion has recently been acquired by a preservation trust which aims to preserve the house and grounds on a long term sustainable basis and raise funds for repairs and other essential works.

Developed in the late 18th century as the pleasure grounds and kitchen garden by the Fitzwilliams of Wentworth Woodhouse, from 1750 until 1786, the gardens were formally reorganised into a kitchen garden. Created under the supervision of renowned York architect John Carr, the kitchen gardens principal role was to provide an abundance of fresh fruit, herbs, vegetables and cut flowers for the house throughout the year.

Foundations for the 12 foot high perimeter walls were begun with the North and South facing walls being designated "hot" walls (they once contained an ingenious system of heated flues). Glasshouses erected against these walls would have supplied the finest and most delicate fruits such as peaches, melons, grapes, pineapples and apricots, a major challenge for gardeners of the day.

Inevitably, much of the cultivated area fell into disrepair after the Second World War, until the creation of the garden centre in 1976. The gardens, which include a rock garden created within and around an old stone quarry in about 1868, were recently accepted into the RHS Partner Gardens scheme.

Wentworth Garden Centre website

Images: Malcolm Scott / Wentworth Garden Centre


1 comments:

Cllr. Nigel Simpson,  June 14, 2017 at 1:19 PM  

Good news for Rotherham - thanks to growing businesses!

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