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Dobbies gets go ahead for Carlisle Centre

Dobbies' latest plans for an £8 million garden centre creating 120 jobs near Carlisle have been given the go ahead.

Council planners approved the scheme after the firm, which is owned by Tesco and operates 25 garden centres across the UK, revised plans for the 18.5 acre site at Orton Grange earlier this year. The chain scaled back the design because of the economic downturn. The indoor sales area is less than half the size of the original design.

Planning officers recommended the centre for approval, saying the principle of the development had already been approved with the previous application.

The plans will still have to be approved by the Government Office North West, which could call a public inquiry. That is unlikely, however, as the Government Office raised no objections to the previous proposal, which councillors approved in principle last November.

The new plans show a 48,200sq ft building housing a sales area, restaurant/café and farm foodhall. There is a cold house, and outside play and demonstration areas, farmyard pens, a plant sales area and 20 allotments to lease.

The timber-framed building is finished in natural stone and timber cladding, broken up by glazed panels. Dobbies describes the design as “elegant, contemporary and uncluttered”.

There is a 339-space car park, compared with 409 in the first scheme. A new roundabout would provide access from the A595.

The design includes many ‘green’ features. Rainwater would be recycled to irrigate plants and there would be a biomass heating system. A separate planning application for wind turbines may follow.

Dobbies says that 150 people attended a public exhibition on its plans and that “on the whole” there was support for the principle of development and the specific proposals.

Source : Victoria Brenan - News & Star

12 August 2010
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