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Hopes for entertainment and children's play area at town's garden centre

PUBLISHED: 15:43 19 November 2019 | UPDATED: 15:43 19 November 2019

The Willow Man outside the front of Thetford Garden Centre. Photo: Lucy Nixon

The Willow Man outside the front of Thetford Garden Centre. Photo: Lucy Nixon

Lucy Nixon

A new entertainment and children's play area could be coming to a town's garden centre.

Thetford Garden Centres marketing manager Shane Hinkley with director Lucy Nixon.Thetford Garden Centres marketing manager Shane Hinkley with director Lucy Nixon.

Thetford Garden Centre, in Kilverstone, has "big plans" for an entertainment and children's play area, as well as another coffee shop.

The family run business was founded in 1982 by Jean and Paul Nixon, and through the years it has become a popular destination for people in and around the town.

But before the plans can take a step forward, to create room the business needs to extend its office and storage space.

They have lodged an application with Breckland Council to do so, with a single-storey extension set to include an additional office, staff room and storage for the existing deli and butchers.

A drone shot of Thetford Garden Centre. Photo: Neil James Garrod PhotographyA drone shot of Thetford Garden Centre. Photo: Neil James Garrod Photography

The business is now run by the couple's daughter Lucy Nixon and her husband Shane Hinkley. She said the success of the garden centre meant it needs more room behind the scenes in order for the business to grow.

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Ms Nixon said: "The more the business grows the more back room and office space is needed to support it.

"We have outgrown our current office space so this extension will increase efficiency, provide more quiet spaces, private meeting rooms, a nicer staff room and bigger toilets.

"This first extension is important because we will be submitting a bigger planning application later on for an extension of the shop, a refurbishment of our outside plant area, and we also hope to include an entertainment area, children's play area and another coffee shop."

The team said the plans for the extension to the office and storage area will not affect customers, and toilet facilities will still be available while it is being renovated.

The business, which has been located on the Kilverstone Estate for 27 years, also plans to build a new entrance to its restaurant as it looks to organise additional evening events.

Ms Nixon added: "We have a really good core customer base. Garden centres are a popular destination people travel a long way to visit.

"It's a great day out. We are proud to have a successful local garden centre which is well loved by its customers and the local community."

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