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17th Jun 2024

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Northumberland Estates and garden centre operator Blue Diamond have submitted a planning application for a state-of-the-art garden centre on land at Cawledge, east of the A1 near Alnwick.

The new garden centre will be managed by Blue Diamond, one of the UK's largest garden centre chains, operating 44 centres across the country and in the Channel Islands. The facility will feature extensive indoor and outdoor plant sections, as well as areas dedicated to gardening products, leisure and homeware, and outdoor furniture. The site boasts a total internal floor area of 8,050 sq. m, with an additional 3,000 sq. m external  sales area and a further 2,490 sq. m. for the concession building. 

Representing a £13 million investment from Northumberland Estates, the garden centre is anticipated to attract significant footfall, create over 150 new full and part-time jobs, and further solidify Alnwick's reputation as a prime destination for retail, leisure, food, and hospitality.

The proposals aim to expand the retail options available to residents of Alnwick and the surrounding areas. Additionally, Blue Diamond has committed to sourcing local goods whenever possible, a commitment strongly supported by Northumberland Estates.

The application was submitted following a public consultation period during which local residents were invited to provide feedback on the plans. The response was overwhelmingly positive, with over 74% of respondents welcoming the addition of a garden centre to Alnwick, and 73% supporting efforts to enhance the area's retail offerings.

Colin Barnes, Director of Planning and Development for Northumberland Estates, commented: "Our objective is to establish the premier garden centre in the North East right here in Alnwick, and our plans reflect that ambition.

"We have taken into account the feedback from the public consultation, and our plans address several concerns raised, including the installation of EV chargers, rainwater harvesting systems, and solar panels. To improve traffic flow, a new roundabout at the junction of Shilbottle Road, funded by developments in the area, including the garden centre, is scheduled for construction in 2024."