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Sowing the seeds of expansion

Published: 23 April 2008
Nursery plant business Plants R Ross receives planning permission for a rural-themed garden centre with related shops.
A 1.5 acre plant nursery in Easington village, East Durham is to be expanded.

Plants R Ross has been granted planning permission to build a garden centre and up to nine related shops potentially comprising units selling outdoor toys, giftware, homewares, a butchers, florists, farm shop and a pets and aquatics business as well as a coffee and tea room. It could create up to 40 jobs.

Work is expected to start in early June with completion by late this year or early 2009.

The decision was welcomed by Plants R Ross owner Ross Weightman whose family has run the site for almost 30 years.

Mr Weightman, 36, called the £1m development a 'unique venture' as the destination centre will give visitors more opportunity to spend half-a-day on-site.

When Mr Weightman became involved in the business, little over ten years ago, it was a garden nursery with a caravan and a small greenhouse, and turnover of £27,000; it now stands at £270,000.

Plants R Ross specialises in hanging baskets and sells more than 4,000 a year, as well as a wide range of perennials, shrubs, plant pots and other garden accessories.

He has been involved with horticulture since he was 16, studying at two colleges in the UK, then working in nurseries in Australia, and South Africa.

Mr Weightman was supported by Business Link's East Durham Business Service.

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