Garden centre near NDR hoping to expand after lockdown boost

Beeston Garden centre is expanding. Adam Willimott, manager. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

Adam Willimott, manager of Beeston Garden Centre and Farm Shop, which could expand - Credit: Brittany Woodman

It attracted hordes of new customers during lockdown and due to its continuing success a garden centre near the NDR is hoping to grow.

Beeston Garden Centre and Farm Shop, off the B1150 North Walsham Road just outside of Norwich, has been run by Robert Shearwood for the past eight years.

Beeston Garden centre is expanding. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

Flowers for sale at Beeston Garden Centre - Credit: Brittany Woodman

He has now proposed a full planning application to Broadland District Council to build a new structure for its plants.

The plants are mostly sold outside and in polytunnels, as well as in the farm shop building.

The new 431sqm garden centre building would be around four times the size of the farm shop and employ four full-time and six-part-time staff, on top of the two full time and three part-time employees that already work there.

Manager Adam Willimott, 34, said: "In lockdown, as a farm shop we sold essential items so we remained open.

"We have noticed a lot of trade has increased since then. Customers who found us have stuck with us and the demand is there.

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"We are hoping to capitalise on that and expand.

"People are spending more time in their gardens since lockdown. People are a bit unsure about going on holidays and travelling and spending a lot of time in their gardens."

Beeston Garden centre is expanding. Adam Willimott, manager. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

Adam Willimott, manager of Beeston Garden Centre and Farm Shop - Credit: Brittany Woodman

Mr Willimott, from Foxburrow Road in Sprowston, added the new garden centre could open next spring if councillors granted planning permission.

The manager said it would stock house plants, because of the growing trend in popularity of the decorative items.

Beeston Garden centre is expanding. The new shop will have an indoor plant section. Pictures: Britta

Beeston Garden centre is expanding. The new shop will have an indoor plant section. Pictures: Brittany Woodman - Credit: Brittany Woodman

Other goods the extra space would sell includes outdoor furniture, solar lights and tools because more people were spending more money on their gardens.

More locally grown plants would also be sold in the garden centre and more fresh and frozen local produce would be stocked in the farm shop after plants sold in a section of the unit would be moved out for the new build.

Beeston Garden centre is expanding. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

Beeston Garden centre is expanding. Pictures: Brittany Woodman - Credit: Brittany Woodman

Mr Willimott said the building had benefitted from the NDR as its proximity to the roundabout forced vehicles to slow down and made the business more visible to customers.

If approve, 37 extra car parking spaces will be added on top of the 30 existing spaces.