Dobbies Garden Centres, the leading garden centre operator in the United Kingdom, has signed an agreement to lease with Cheltenham-based developer Robert Hitchins Ltd to open a 75,000sq ft flagship garden centre. The new store, to be built at junction 9 of the M5 motorway near Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire, will be the largest Dobbies in South West England.
The garden centre, to be built on a greenfield site fronting the A46 trunk road, will feature the very best of Dobbies’ including an extensive plants and gardening department, food hall, cookshop, pet department, table service restaurant, soft play area for kids, its own 500-space car park and much more. It will be on the same overall 180-acre site as the proposed 195,000 sq ft Designer Outlet Cotswolds which will feature some 90 retail units, restaurants and cafés. Infrastructure works to open up the site for development are due to commence in Autumn 2020 with the garden centre and outlet village planned to open in Autumn 2022.
Detailed negotiations are underway with a number of high-quality retail brands that have been attracted by Designer Outlet Cotswolds strong location and communications links and its affluent and growing catchment. The outlet village will feature aspirational brands across fashion, athleisure, footwear and lifestyle at up to 70% off RRP throughout the year along with quality restaurants and coffee shops.
Both the designer outlet and garden centre are part of a wider development by Robert Hitchins which will also include 850 homes, a school and a local centre adjacent to an existing M&S supermarket, Starbucks and BP petrol filling station.
Graeme Jenkins, chief executive officer at Dobbies Garden Centres, said: “The new garden centre will be our fourth largest in the UK and the jewel in the crown for the South West region. Not only do we want to delight our customers with our plants and gardening offer, but also feature a variety of other attractions and product ranges. With such an excellent location, right on the junction of a busy motorway, we look forward to welcoming local residents, passing motorists and visitors to the region.”
The development will create one of the most accessible retail and leisure destinations in the UK. As well as the nearby M5 motorway, the site fronts the A46 trunk road which links to the M42. More than 21 million vehicles pass the site each year and the development is within walking distance of the Ashchurch-for-Tewkesbury railway station which serves the Bristol to Birmingham main line. Additionally, more than 9.8 million people live within a 90 minutes’ drive and the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) attracts over 23 million visitors annually.
Simon Tothill, property & development director of Robert Hitchins, said: “A Dobbies Garden Centre as the leisure anchor for Designer Outlet Cotswolds will offer a tremendous attraction for customers. Working closely with ROS Retail Outlet Shopping, one of the top outlet operators in Europe, we have managed to secure strong interest from major global brands which we hope to announce in the near future. We have put much thought into the architectural appeal of the scheme and the spectrum of choice for visitors when we open. Dobbies will be a significant addition to the development.”
When fully open, visitors to Dobbies will be drawn through the store entrance by the visual appeal and aroma of house plants. The store will feature a large food hall with on-site bakery, butchery and an eye-catching ambient grocery offer, including fresh fruit and vegetables. Additional attractions include a 500-seat table service restaurant with an extensive menu, cookshop building on an award-winning format, a pet department plus an extensive plant area with a wide range of plants for all seasons.