Plans for a new centre at Roundswell approved by council.

PLANS for the relocation of St John’s Garden Centre to Roundswell in Barnstaple have been approved by North Devon Council.

The proposal for a new complex, including a retail garden centre and restaurant was given a unanimous ‘thumbs up’ by councillors.

Agent Robin Upton told committee members the garden centre was ‘stifled’ in its current location in Newport and relocation would retain existing jobs, while increasing the workforce from 80 to around 120.

The Oliver family has been bidding for five years to relocate their business to the new larger site next to the A39 and east of the B3232 Newton Tracey road.

It will include more than 2,000 sq metres of greenhouses, together with the Jungleland attraction and 173 car parking spaces.

Classroom space, exhibition and ‘farmers’ market’ areas are also included in the plans.

A decision was deferred in February but at Wednesday’s meeting, councillors were told that ‘red tape’, including the need for an environmental statement, highways issues and other legislative hurdles had been overcome.

Cllr Michael Harrison said: “The present garden centre is in my ward at the end of a road that has heavy vehicles going up and down it and I would support a move.”