Hundreds of people have taken to social media to express their sadness and disappointment that Reigate Garden Centre is set to close later this year.
The Tiley family has run the centre, on Sandcross Road, for 35 years but chief executive Gary Tiley announced that the site had been sold to property developers on February 8.
Land around the garden centre, including fields that are bordered by Whitehall Lane on the west side and Slipshatch Road on the south side, are currently within the green belt.
However Reigate and Banstead Borough Council’s development management plan proposes to remove the land from the green belt, with developers understood to be eyeing it up for hundreds of homes.
A public consultation on the plan is open until February 23 with residents able to give their views on the council’s website.
Separate plans are currently being consulted on for 23 homes to be built on the two-acre garden centre site.
Reacting to the news on social media some have called it a “shame” that they are losing a sanctuary that “holds precious memories” other have stated their frustration that the popular business and its surrounding green belt land could be lost to developers.
While the majority of people have stated how they’ll miss the garden centre and Woody’s café within it, others have questioned the need for more homes in the area.
Mr Tiley has cited the council’s proposal to remove surrounding land from the green belt as part of its draft development management plan, and declining trade, as the reasons behind the family’s decision.
He admitted it was “a sad day” having to tell staff and cited the impact of the internet on the business’ turnover since 2010 as key to the decision.