Boss shuts garden centre to prevent 'mingling' in lockdown

  • Watch a report by Charlotte Wilkins

The owners of a garden centre in Sussex have closed the business to customer visits for the duration of the third lockdown, because they do not feel that buying garden products in person should be classed as ‘essential shopping’.

Adrian Hillman, who owns Rushfields Plant Centre near Brighton, says that the pressure on the NHS is the main reason he has decided to shut up shop, even though he does not have to do so.The last week has seen customers browsing rather than buying, issues with social distancing and disputes over masks.  

The opening of garden centres during the third lockdown has been allowed after campaigning during the previous shutdown, highlighting about the mental health benefits that gardening can bring to people who have to stay at home.

The Horticultural Trading Association (HTA) says that it has seen a huge interest in gardening since the second lockdown and that customers have continued to be engaged with gardening into the winter months.

Over at Ashford in Kent, Dan Cornish who runs Harringe Plants agrees with the HTA. He feels that it is important to stay open.

Rushfields Plant Centre will stay shut, although staff will continue to serve customers through online shopping and click and collect instead. Meanwhile, the management say that people can still buy groceries and other essential items from their farm shop.