Major development plans for nursery

A LONG-established garden centre is preparing to unveil multi-million pound redevelopment plans for its headquarters in Woodbridge.Notcutts Ltd is holding talks with planning officers about a major scheme to safeguard the future of the garden centre in Ipswich Road.

A LONG-established garden centre is preparing to unveil multi-million pound redevelopment plans for its headquarters in Woodbridge.

Notcutts Ltd is holding talks with planning officers about a major scheme to safeguard the future of the garden centre in Ipswich Road.

Private briefings are also being held in the town with neighbouring residents and the Woodbridge Society, and town council planners have been given an insight into the future of the prime site.

The proposals have not been made public but it is understood that the redevelopment will include housing on part of the site and this will help to pay for the costs.

Discussions over building a hotel on the Ipswich Road site were first held many years ago but it is believed that a hotel does not feature in the latest scheme.

Notcutts has occupied a prestigious site on the main road into the historic market town since 1958 and has the company headquarters, a restaurant, shop, plant sales and beautiful grounds. Any alterations will be the subject of major interest in the town.

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William Notcutt, group managing director, has written to nearby residents and said: ''The centre today does not meet our customers' expectations or requirements for a modern garden centre. We now wish to improve it and safeguard its future as Woodbridge's Garden Centre.

''Likewise, over the years our nursery production activities have relocated primarily to our main production nursery at Pettistree, but also to our other nursery sites. This has resulted in substantial areas of the home nursery site becoming redundant.

''For some time we have been in discussion with the planning officers of Suffolk Coastal District Council about our proposals for the future utilisation of this total site.''

Mr Notcutt said yesterday he did not wish to comment publicly about the plans until he had briefed residents. He said: ''We are in a process of consultation with a view to finalising our plans which will lead to a planning application for the redevelopment of our site.''

He said the plans would strengthen the company's position in the town, secure jobs and keep the long tradition of selling plants from the site.

Notcutts was established in 1897 and is a family business owned by the direct descendants of the founder, Roger Notcutt. The history of nurseries on the land can be traced back to Woods Nursery in 1749.

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