Fulham Palace Garden Centre Will Not Become Pets at Home

Delight for residents as Prince's Trust confirm no deal with chain

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The Prince's Trust have confirmed that Fulham Palace Garden Centre, which closed on August 31, will not now be taken over by retail chain Pets at Home.

In August, trade publication Horticulture Week reported that a deal between the chain and The Prince's Trust, which put the centre up for sale earlier this year was imminent, adding that other London garden centres had been priced out of the deal.

The Prince's Trust was also forced to defend itself, insisting it was acting appropriately afer it was revealed that Amy Stirling, chief financial officer of the charity, is also an independent non-executive director of the retailer. She took up both roles in February this year.

Now the Prince's Trust says on the garden centre's website:
" Fulham Palace Garden Centre closed on Sunday 31st August.

" We are currently exploring options for the future of the centre, which is likely to be taken on by another business. As owners of the site, we are committed to working with future tenants to reflect the character of the local surroundings.

" As a charity, The Prince’s Trust is required to focus on its core activity of supporting disadvantaged young people into jobs and training. The garden centre is not a core part of The Trust’s operations and, with this in mind, we are looking at leasing the site as this will be the best way to raise funds in support of more young people.

" There has been speculation locally that Pets at Home would be taking the lease, but they have confirmed they have no plans to acquire the centre.

" The Charity Commission sets very clear requirements on property matters and this process in being managed in line with the highest standards of governance throughout."

The news has delighted local residents and businesses, including two popular local pet shops, Bishops Bark and Hurlingham Pets and who launched a petition opposing the sale which collected almost 3,000 signatures.

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.

September 12, 2014