|Fulham Palace Garden Centre to Close and "Become Pets at Home"|
Residents' petition against sale gathers hundreds of signatures
Fulham Palace Garden Centre is to close its door on August 31, and is reportedly about to be taken over by retail chain Pets at Home.
The Prince's Trust, which put the centre up for sale earlier this year, has announced on the centre's website: " Fulham Palace Garden Centre will close on Sunday 31st Augu
" We are currently in negotiations regarding the future of the site, which is likely to be taken on by another tenant.
" As a charity, The Prince’s Trust is required to focus on its core activity of supporting disadvantaged young people into jobs and training. With this in mind, we are looking at leasing the site to raise funds in support of more young people, in line with charity law guidelines.
" This website will be updated with more information when it is available."
Trade publication Horticulture Week says that other London garden centres have been priced out of the deal, while agents Collier International say that the centre "has potential for conversion to a variety of suitable uses."
The news has angered local businesses, including two popular local pet shops, Bishops Bark and Hurlingham Pets and local
The petition, addressed to the Prince's Trust, says: " We are asking you to reconsider the sale of Fulham Palace Garden Centre to Pets at Home and to grant local residents, and other interested parties, the opportunity to seek alternative bidders and sources of funding. There is considerable local resistance to the change of use to a large retail outlet such as Pets at Home which is more in keeping with an out of town retail site and the whole process does not reflect well on The Prince's Trust".
The 30 year-old garden centre, in iconic glasshouses on Fulham Palace Road, was originally run by the Fairbridge Trust to help disadvantaged young people into work, with profits going towards the work of the trust.
The Prince's Trust took over from Fairbridge in 2011 and last year bought two-thirds of the centre's lease from Hammersmith & Fulham Council for more than £500,000.
However this year, the trust decided to sell the lease and says Horticulture Week, Princes Trust chief financial officer Amy Stirling, who was appointed in February 2014, is believed to have scrapped the previous tender process, which had reached the shortlist stage, and started again with more than just garden centre owners being targeted.
Fulham resident Tessa Darling told the magazine: "Local residents are upset that the garden centre will become a pet supermarket. The area is very beautiful and a pet supermarket belongs on a trading estate rather than a residential part of London. People have written to the Prince of Wales to protest. He’s a conservationist so how can he allow this to go through?"
August 15, 2014