Popular garden centre forced to close after 40 years

A garden centre near Winchcombe will shut for good, despite being “popular” and “thriving”.

Toddington Garden Centre has been forced to close. This is after landlord Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway refused to renew its lease.
The land the garden centre is on is owned by GWR. Its headquarters are next to it and it wants to use the site to expand its operation.
A spokeswoman for the garden centre, owned by Mark and Liz Tsakarisianos, said the closure would lead to the loss of eight jobs.
She said: “There’s a lot of sadness. It was leased by GWR and they wanted the site back so there wasn’t much we could do about it.
“We don’t like them very much. We’ve got a thriving business here.
“We assumed that we would renew the lease or have a shorter one.”
The loss of the Toddington business was a big blow, she said.
“We’re devastated. It’s been a fantastic place to work.
“We’re sad and so are the customers.”
She added that it was a shame to see one of the few remaining independent garden centres close. Visitors, who regarded it almost like a social centre, also felt that way.
She said: “It’s popular. It’s not the fact that they want the site back, it’s the fact that it’s having to close down a thriving business.
“From our point of view, we’re not closing because we’re not making money, it’s because they want the land back.”
Ian Crowder, the railway’s spokesman, said: “We are sorry that the garden centre will close.
“We ended the ten-year lease after a lot of deliberation and a heavy heart. We are aware that the garden centre is something of an attraction for visitors to the railway. “We gave the garden centre plenty of notice and opportunities to talk to us over recent months.
“The site is needed for expansion of our facilities at Toddington. It’s the railway’s headquarters. It will be used to expand and improve the experience for visitors to our railway.
“It has been a long-term intention to re-use this space. The lease coming to an end provides that opportunity.” 
Mr Crowder said the garden centre site would be used to build new retail, restaurant and car parking facilities. It’s aimed at providing better interpretation of the railway for visitors.

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