Garden centre owners in Wales 'need more certainty' as to when they can reopen

  • Watch the report by West Wales reporter Jess Main

Garden centre owners in Wales say they need more certainty on when they can reopen as they head into their busiest season.

The Welsh garden retail sector is worth £177 million to the economy, but unlike in England, lockdown restrictions mean customers are still unable to visit in person.

One retailer, Morris of Usk, say they've been forced to make staff redundant, and have lost over £1m in turnover from the closure of one of their cafes.

They're also counting the cost of their wasted Autumn crop of violas and pansies, and now face the prospect of losing more money in Spring trade.

In Moylegrove, Pembrokeshire, Penrallt Garden Centre is offering a click and collect and delivery service, but owner Peter Fletcher says it's not sustainable, and he's keen to get people in as soon as he can. 

Peter Fletcher told ITV Cymru Wales: "We feel that we've got a really safe environment here.

"It's probably three or four times bigger than a supermarket, most of the spaces are out in the open, so we very much hope garden centres can open very soon and certainly before Easter."

The Horticultural Trade Association, which represents retailers, said news that First Minister Mark Drakeford would review non-essential retail on March 11th, "left very little room for manoeuvre "

"Our members - growers and retailers alike - need certainty around opening dates and the key trading occasion of Mother's Day will be even more important after such a difficult period, which will now include closure on St David's Day."

The HTA say they recognise garden retailers "have a part to play" in bringing the pandemic under control, but urged the Welsh Government to consider the health and wellbeing benefits of gardening too. 

In a statement though the Welsh Government re-iterated that people could still access their garden centres through delivery and click and collect services.

It also confirmed that the restrictions around them would be considered, alongside all non-essential retail premises in the next three week review.