NEW housing developments spreading across the east of Angmering claimed a fresh victim this week, when the Manor Nurseries garden centre announced it would be closing on July 19.
A question mark has hung over the business’ future since early 2012, when developers David Wilson Homes and Barratts included the site in a larger area on which it wanted to build 300 homes.
In March this year, an outline planning application for 32 homes on the garden centre site, in High Street, was approved by Arun District Council, as part of the masterplan drafted by Arun and developers to provide a total of 600 homes east of Roundstone Lane.
On Monday, a notice was put up at the nursery and on its Facebook page announcing the closure on Sunday, July 19. It said: “We would like to thank our customers for your continuous support, especially over these last few difficult years. We have appreciated the many kind words and the offers of help for now and the future.
“We all have enjoyed working here and will really miss it, but most of all we will miss you our loyal customers. A big thank-you from all the staff at Manor.”
Customers reacted with sadness on Facebook. Brian Taylor wrote: “Such a shame to see another decent local business closing down.” Ros Damario commented: “So sorry to see you go. I have been coming into the nursery for years.”
Rosemary Jones was ‘sad to see you go – a proper local nursery, not a faceless corporation’.
The garden centre is now holding a closing down sale and its much-admired collection of cacti will be transferred to the other Manor Nurseries site at Runcton, near Chichester.
In 2012 the Angmering centre, which employed eight people at the time, posted a news item on its website after news broke about the developers’ proposals. It stated: “There have been many rumours circulating recently. Despite what has been written in certain local publications, Manor Nursery is very much alive and kicking!”
Asked by the Gazette about the future of the site, Richard Lovejoy, managing director of the centre’s parent company, said then: “We are not closing, we are actively seeking to relocate within four or five miles of where we are now. We have been negotiating with the developers and they are amenable to us continuing in business while their plans go through. It has just happened sooner than we expected.”
Mr Lovejoy was not available when the Gazette tried to contact him on Tuesday.
When Arun’s development control committee considered the plans in March, Angmering’s three district councillors wrote a joint letter of objection, pointing to the loss of jobs. Angmering Parish Council, the Save Angmering Village campaign and 46 individuals also lodged objections.