New owner of Peterborough One Retail Park promises multi-million pound transformation
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A garden centre and retail park in Peterborough is to undergo a multi-million pound transformation after being sold to new owners.
The Peterborough One Retail Park, in Eye Road, has been bought by the national garden centre group Blue Diamond for £27 million.
Alan Roper, managing director of Blue Diamond, said the company was planning to invest a further £3 million in the site which would see an array of ‘aspirational’ attractions in the garden centre and some new retailers move into adjoining units.
He said that kitchen and homewares retailer Lakeland had confirmed its intention to move on to the park.
Investment in the garden centre is expected to see the number of staff rise from about 30 to 100 plus with new attractions including an Eat Right deli bar, where the food is fresh and cooked on site by qualified chefs, and the sale of locally grown produce through its farm shop, Local Larder.
Blue Diamond also has its own nursery where it grows millions of pounds worth of plants in recyclable pots, using peat-free compost. It plans to encourage local growers to get in touch.
Mr Roper said: “Peterborough has grown quite a lot over the last 20 years and continues to do so but I always felt it didn't really have a quality garden centre offer.
"I felt Peterborough would appreciate a Blue Diamond garden centre, we’ve been awarded the Best Value Garden Centre, so we’re not expensive but we do trade with a degree of authority and aspiration in plants.
He said "The PE1 site appears to have been in the doldrums and had a sense of neglect for the best part of 12 years.
"I want to provide a quality offer in what we do and I want the people who trade alongside us on the site to also offer a quality proposition.
"We don’t put concessions inside the garden centre because we operate everything inside, including the two restaurants, ourselves.
"There are a lot of interesting people on site, like a dance studio, Inflata Nation, a mother and baby outlet, all those things around a leisure activity, I am happy for them to stay.
"Operators that offer something for families and children such as dancing lessons, gym, family entertainment and learning for children are important to keep. Where we need to, we will make changes.
Mr Roper said: “We not a corporate group that just has a standard offer and is rather flat and uninspiring. We are more aspirational and more organic in how we think.
“It will be completely different to what went before and I believe Peterborough will support that - but it will be a challenge to take that rather horrible PE1 and transform into something else."
Mr Roper said Blue Diamond had bought the Peterborough site in November but it would take time to make necessary changes and it was hoped to have an official launch by Easter when the name will be changed to Blue Diamond Garden and Home.
Blue Diamond is also preparing to unveil a partnership with the National Trust, in which it has developed products for the trust with 10 per cent of the price going to the trust.