"The feedback from our customers has been amazing"
Paresh Raithatha, Managing Director
In November 2016 Newspan shared the industry’s shock to see Ansell Garden Centre appearing in the headlines for being destroyed by a devastating fire. Paresh Raithatha, managing director of Ansell, recalls the event; “There couldn’t have been a worse time to suffer such a blow to our business… we were holding more stock than at any other time of year and looking forward to a busy run up to Christmas”. Fortunately, nobody was injured in the fire, although the damage to the garden centre and all its stock was catastrophic.
Within a couple of days of hearing the news Newspan were on site to offer support and to try and help find a way forward for Ansell Garden Centre. “Support from our customers, suppliers and the industry afterwards was overwhelming”. Led by Paresh, the team at Ansell showed unwavering spirit and sought after a way for them to start trading again, as soon as possible; “within just a few days, we had reopened from a gazebo in the car park, and that was how we continued to operate while planning the new garden centre”.
Initial discussions with Paresh made it clear he had bigger plans than to just replace what had been on site previously. Ansell wanted to use this opportunity to rebuild in a way that was tailored for their needs with a brand new centre. Newspan were quickly shortlisted to provide a proposal on the new masterplan at Ansell; “We opened a dialogue with Newspan early on inviting them, along with other contractors, to look at architects Malcolm Scott’s plans and submit their proposal…we quickly narrowed down the list of potential building suppliers”.
Precise Value Engineering
Newspan worked closely with the customer through with a careful eye on the budget.
High Levels of Communication
The on site team were well supported by the office team and communication with the customer was maintained throughout.
During the ‘Design’ phase there were many changes to the building and Newspan maintained a flexible approach throughout, taking the time to discuss each potential modification with Paresh in depth. The planning process was made slightly more complicated by Ansell Garden Centre being within the bounds of “The London Plan”, which imposed stringent performance ratings that the buildings needed to achieve. To accomplish this within the budget of an independent, family run business Newspan value-engineered the project wherever possible; “Newspan worked closely with us through every revision of the design and maintained constant communication to make sure we ticked all the bureaucratic boxes, without going over our budget”. Combining the constraints of ‘The London Plan’ and the close proximity to Heathrow airport meant that the planning actually took 28 weeks, rather than the 14-18 weeks Paresh and his team were hoping for.
Paresh was keen to maintain trading through the project and they managed to continue this in all weathers, still with the tills underneath the gazebo that they purchased two days after the fire! Once the build got underway Paresh’s time was understandably being pulled in all directions so Newspan maintained pretty much one point of contact for him in the office with the rest of the team working in the background; “Rather than always needing to go via the main contractor, direct contact with Dan improved communication, which was excellent throughout. Newspan’s team in the office gave great support too”.
Following a mid-May start, the Newspan team were done on site by mid-August and the team at Ansell Garden Centre were ready for a soft opening in November 2018, pretty much two years to the day after the fire. The stunning new 2,090m2 garden centre incorporates a café, a polycarbonate canopy, an aquatics concession, three staircases, mezzanine floor and a lattice rafter framed entrance porch. Paresh and his team now have a purpose built, modern, high performing Garden Centre ready to welcome not only their loyal customer but also introduce some new faces to the Ansell experience. Paresh and his customers are both thrilled with the outcome; “feedback from our customers has been amazing and we’re really looking forward to our first summer of trading in the new building”.
Although the new store hasn’t been open long Paresh has progression on his mind and is already thinking ahead; “We already have plans for more development within the next couple of years, and Newspan have put themselves in a strong position to be back here working with us again then”.
“We already have plans for more development and Newspan have put themselves in a strong position to be back here working with us again”.
“The new restaurant building is a big asset. Newspan were incredibly flexible to work with and gave us every support. They have been pro-active and helpful throughout.”
Mike Lind, Monkton Elm Garden Centre
“Newspan understood exactly what we were trying to achieve… Their excellent suggestion of working off our existing building’s steelwork was a smart move that saved costs, risks and complexity.”
Mark Farnsworth, Tong Garden Centre
“Before this, Newspan had built a new garden centre building for us at Mappleborough Green, but now they’ve proved equally capable with both new build and refurbishment projects.”
Tim Mason, Stansted Park Garden Centre
“Newspan have completed five or six projects here. I know I’m going to get a good job for a good price and we’re always looked after really well.”
Tim Goold, Henry Street Garden Centre
“Newspan applied a practical, no-nonsense approach throughout the refurbishment that kept things on track. The whole process was made really straightforward and uncomplicated, and was surprisingly quick.”
Richard Brann, Fillpots Garden Centre
“It was important to us that the new garden centre had an authentic glasshouse feel, which Newspan helped to create, flooding the internal space within with natural light. Trade quadrupled immediately after the redevelopment.”
Paul Richards, Mappleborough Green Garden Centre
“Our delivery targets were ambitious, but Newspan helped to organise a programme that delivered. The work ethic of the team on site was second to none and our office point of contact was first class throughout.”
Mark Farnsworth, Tong Garden Centre
“Newspan were competitive, but not at the expense of flexibility. They were accommodating throughout and communication was always really good.”
Jonathan Grainge, Whitegates Nursery
“Newspan’s proposal was competitive and they worked patiently with us to make sure we ticked all the boxes without going over our budget, but it was seeing the teamwork in action that made the choice for us. Feedback from our customers has been amazing.”
Paresh Raithatha, Ansell Garden Centre
“Over 20 years, we’ve worked with Newspan at least five or six times; we get on well and I know I’m going to get a good job for a good price. Newspan are never complacent and always competitive. For all the times they’ve won our business, they never take it for granted and we’re always looked after really well. This latest phase of development is looking really very good; once again, we’re very happy with what Newspan have delivered.”
Tim Goold, Owner, Henry Street
“We stayed open throughout the development. Our garden centre was fully operational, on time and on budget, in time for important Christmas season trading.”
Jonathon Glinos, The Old Moat Garden Centre, Manager
“Newspan’s price was competitive, but not at the expense of flexibility; they were really accommodating throughout. Not too ‘corporate’ for us in any way!”
Jon Grainge, Owner, Whitegates Nursery
“Communication was good throughout and thanks to the collected efforts of our both of our teams, the extended shop was up and running in time for a busy spring!”
Ian Hazon, Production and Ops Manager, Coolings
“Because of the slopes, the levels all had to be adjusted to enable the doors to operate smoothly, but Newspan soon sorted that for us. In fact, their team was brilliant – nothing was a problem”
David Mills, Owner, Clockhouse Nursery
“We knew that Newspan had a very good reputation in our industry. They applied a practical, no nonsense approach… We fully expect to work with them again as we continue to expand.”
Richard Brann, Owner, Fillpots Garden Centre
“The improvements are so significant I don’t think a first-time customer here would know our buildings aren’t new. They’re bigger, look great and perform better – and Newspan did it all much more quickly and cost-efficiently than we imagined possible.”
Phil Hodges, Managing Director, Almondsbury Garden Centre
“We’re not part of a large chain; refurbishing a three-span glasshouse was a big investment for us. Newspan gave us an overall price, but proposed a phased delivery so we could spread the costs and budget accordingly. It’s helped us to successfully implement our business plans… It’s a good working relationship that we see continuing for the long term.”
Jayne Webber, Managing Director, West Somerset Garden Centre
“The Newspan team has been incredibly flexible to work with, and has given us every support as we managed the project. They’re continuing to help us now the new building is in use, most recently designing an steel support system for windcatchers on the roof that facilitate natural air circulation in our conference room. They have been pro-active and helpful throughout, and the new restaurant building will be a big asset to the centre.”
Mike Lind, Managing Director, Monkton Elm
“With Newspan on board from our initial planning application, we had the perfect opportunity to start with a clean slate. Since the redevelopment, trade has quadrupled and is still increasing at a rapid rate.”
Paul Richards, Director, Mappleborough Green
“I wanted to say a huge thank you to all involved in this project… The objective of getting the Restaurant and Retail area opened to the target dates has been achieved and all areas now open to the public are transformed and looking absolutely stunning… It has been a pleasure to be part of the team.”
Andrew Hughes, Design Consultant, Pleydell Smithyman
“Working direct with the Newspan team has worked well for us – with their hands-on experience, they’re able to bring good suggestions to the table. I find them approachable and open to discussion, and on site they’re knowledgeable, flexible and easy to deal with.”
Paul Alford, Thompson’s Garden Centres
“The Newspan team are knowledgeable and helpful… I know I can trust them to get the job done to schedule. They are clean, tidy and organised on site, which is really important when customers are around, and they provide very good after-sales service.”
John Dipre, Ashstead Park Garden Centre
“As well as Blue Diamond’s previous experience of working with Newspan, we really liked their approach too. Their estimate was competitive, and I had confidence that they thoroughly understood the concept behind the design and wouldn’t compromise it in the delivery. They’ve also been pro-active in helping us to find solutions that improve not only the building’s aesthetics, but also its performance, particularly with ideas for increasing energy efficiency and reducing operating costs for heating and ventilation.”
Johnathan Goater, Goater Jones Architects
“We are pleased to have found in Newspan a company able to provide a first class design and build package for our sports hall and multi-function building requirements. Working closely with our own design teams we have formed a close partnership delivering practical and economical solutions to our clients. Being able to adapt to unique design challenges and reacting to tight on-site build schedules has been the key to our success, and having reliable suppliers like Newspan on board has enabled us to promote our core business ideals with confidence.”
Ian Lewis, National Sales Manager, Wernick Buildings
“Newspan’s refurbishment has provided our customers with a much more comfortable shopping environment. The increased height of the building makes it feel lighter and airier, plus it’s warmer and brighter. Changing the glass to cladding has made a world of difference to the appearance and ambience of the building – yet it’s predominantly the same structure. We’re very pleased with the work.”