MORE than 100 jobs could be created after a supermarket giant struck a deal with a garden centre for a multi-million pound development.
Under the plans Waitrose will buy Percy Thrower’s Garden Centre on Oteley Road, Meole Brace, Shrewsbury, to make way for a supermarket while bosses at Percy Thrower’s would receive cash for a new modern garden centre adjoining it.
The upmarket retailer has made the deal with Garden and Leisure Ltd, a group to which Percy Thrower’s belongs.
A spokesman for Waitrose said: "Garden and Leisure Ltd and Waitrose have reached an agreement to redevelop the existing garden centre in Oteley Road with a new state-of-the-art Percy Thrower’s and food store adjoining it.
"They are continuing to work up their proposals before holding a public consultation."
John Moseley, marketing director at Garden and Leisure Ltd, added: “The development is still subject to planning permission from Shropshire Council, but we are hopeful that it will be favourably received.
"Essentially there will be two distinct stores sharing the same location.
“The demographics of the two businesses match very closely and there is a genuine synergy between the two trading concepts which will provide an absolutely unique shopping destination.”
Percy Thrower was a British gardener who became known for his presenting slots on BBC’s Gardening Club and Gardeners' World before his death in 1988.
Mr Moseley added: “Percy Thrower was probably the most famous name in traditional gardening.
“During his lifetime he was often called ‘The Nation’s Head Gardener’ and always dreamed of a new type of plant-led garden centre.
“This development looks set to turn his dream into a reality.
“The Garden and Leisure group is delighted that this development will provide the opportunity to offer the best in quality food retailing in partnership with the most famous and well-respected name in traditional, plant-led garden centres.”
Waitrose opened its first store in Shrewsbury on Pride Hill in May, creating 40 jobs.
The former Burger King in Pride Hill and the old Post Office site in St Mary’s Street, which had been empty for several years, were converted into the new store.
Plans for the Oteley Road development are being given the finishing touches and will be unveiled at a public exhibition in the coming months.
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