17 jobs to go as garden centre closes

By Sharon AsplinSEVENTEEN people will lose their jobs when a renowned East Anglian gardening firm axes one of its garden centres.Notcutts Garden Centres announced yesterday its intention to cease trading and close its operation at Ardleigh Garden Centre by mid-October.

By Sharon Asplin

SEVENTEEN people will lose their jobs when a renowned East Anglian gardening firm axes one of its garden centres.

Notcutts Garden Centres announced yesterday its intention to cease trading and close its operation at Ardleigh Garden Centre by mid-October.

Subject to consultation, the decision has been made in principle to make all the positions for staff - four full-time and 13 part-time - redundant, although it is hoped some workers could be redeployed elsewhere in the company.


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The family firm, which is based in Woodbridge, said a “rigorous review of performance” had revealed the Ardleigh business did not meet either customers' or Notcutts' expectations of a modern garden centre.

The review concluded it lacked sufficient covered space in which to provide key facilities and there was no realistic prospects for its performance to improve in the foreseeable future.

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Michael Cole, managing director, said the Ardleigh Garden Centre had not benefited from a good location and had suffered from being on the wrong side of the adjacent railway crossing, which was increasingly closed due to an increased volume of railway traffic using Felixstowe and Harwich ports.

He said: “This decision has not been taken lightly, but it is the right course of action to enable us to better concentrate on our larger sites with greater long term trading potential.

“Ardleigh was acquired in 1966, since which time it has grown little, and remains our smallest centre by a considerable margin. We are not alone in making this decision and other garden centre groups have also decided to close smaller centres that do not have the benefit of scale.”

A spokeswoman said Notcutts had not ruled out opening another gardening centre in Essex, but no suitable sites had been found so far.

The Ardleigh site was home to Abbotts of Ardleigh, a long-standing family-owned seed and nursery business, when it was acquired as Notcutts' second garden centre in 1966.

Established in 1897, the Suffolk-based Notcutts Ltd remains a family-owned business and employs more than 1,300 staff across its three divisions, Notcutts Nurseries, Notcutts Garden Centres and Notcutts Landscapes.

sharon.asplin@eadt.co.uk

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