Green light for centre

A GARDEN CENTRE will now be allowed to sell everything from camping equipment to clothes and shoes despite protests from nearby traders.

Heighley Gate Garden Centre was granted permission at last Thursday’s meeting of the county council’s north area planning committee to alter two conditions which will mean it can sell products in different areas, although the total retail space will not be increased, and sell different items.

In an area not to exceed 50 per cent of the indoor space, the garden centre can sell ‘non-core products associated with items sold from within garden centres’, which includes arts and crafts goods and fashion items, following the recommendations of a retail impact assessment.

Objectors to the scheme claimed that it will create an out-of-town shopping centre, which will have an adverse impact on trade in Morpeth.

Alnwick Chamber of Trade chairman Carlo Biagioni felt sympathy for traders in Morpeth, but felt that with the high cost of travel at the moment, it would not be a problem for Alnwick.

He said: “It’s very difficult to deal with out-of-town shopping malls and this is another typical example of this administration – they don’t appreciate what business people around this area are going through at the moment, especially on the high streets.”