The expected closure of a Squires Garden Centre in Maidenhead Road has reopened controversy. This is due to the Royal Borough’s plan to allow houses to go up on the Green Belt area where the centre is.
Squires announced at the start of the year it would close the centre. It blamed Green Belt planning constraints that had restricted its ability to expand.
Cllr Ed Wilson, Conservative councillor for Clewer South ward on the Royal Borough expressed regret about the closure. He said: “Having lived in this area for more than 25 years I have always known a garden centre on this site. It’s a great shame that Squires are going especially for their staff and suppliers.
“Squires cafe is a meeting place for many residents. Dedworth needs more community facilities with or without our garden centres.”
He said the council hoped to establish a new community cafe in Dedworth to replace the one at Squires.
Opposition councillor Wisdom Da Costa, an independent member, wasn’t impressed.
The opposition believes the council’s stated aim of allowing housing on a Green Belt area has contributed to the closure.
A statement from Sarah Squire, deputy chairman, this week removed any lingering hope the centre would stay on its present site.
She said: “Many of the team have already found alternative employment in the local area. Some have chosen to engage in further study or travel.
“We’re keen for our colleagues to stay with Squire’s where possible at our other centres. We are in constant touch as opportunities arise.”
The company has hinted in earlier statements that it would consider setting up a centre on another site in the Royal Borough.