Fri, 30 Oct 2020
A new garden centre is opening its doors in Thatcham tomorrow (Saturday).
British Garden Centres (BGC) acquired the former Wyevale centre off the A4 and Tull Way in September.
BGC Thatcham will open from 8.30am and will have strict social distancing measures in place.
Director Boyd Douglas-Davies told the Newbury Weekly News in September that a soft play area would be installed alongside the “considerably larger” restaurant to make the centre “a lot more family attractive”.
Mr Douglas-Davies said that social distancing would be in place and staff would be wearing face masks on opening.
A limit on the number of people in the centre will be in place, with 100 people allowed in the retail areas, plus 170 seated in the socially distanced restaurant areas.
The soft play area will be open as West Berkshire is in Tier 1. BGC policy is to not open soft play areas in areas that are in Tier 2 or 3.
Mr Douglas-Davis said: "To control numbers within the building there's a queuing system. If the number of people inside have reached that number then we will ask people outside to wait."
Speaking on the opening he said: "We're very excited about it. Historically we would probably have had some amazing opening offers. We're not doing that, conscious of over-populating the site. We have kept away from doing some of those things because we know how successful they are.
"We plan to have a great relaunch in the spring and a big event going into the spring growing season. That's our current thinking assuming that coronavirus doesn't prevent that."
The centre would employ around 40 people full-time and part-time.
With more people taking up gardening during lockdown Mr Douglas-Davies said now was a good time for expansion.
He said: “We think it’s a good location, it’s going to be a good addition to our business.
“We’re looking forward to being there and being part of the local community.
“It’s store 58 for us. It’s important for us as a business to grow and we believe there’s a really good future in garden centres.”