"Newspan were personable and approachable, and brought a lot of good ideas to the table"
Hannah Warr, Director
Laylocks was created as a plant nursery back in 1973 by Martin Warr. After a successful beginning more space was required and in 1981 Martin purchased the current site. Over the years Laylocks moved from being predominantly a nursery to a garden centre, requiring additional retail space and car park area. As they have developed Martins daughter, Hannah, has become heavily involved in the business and she has provided the quotes to follow. The father-daughter combo both share ambitious plans for the site and they set about creating a new building next to their existing Venlo structure to provide additional retail space.
Once planning permission was achieved Hannah contacted Newspan to discuss the project. “Newspan came highly recommended by our consultants, Malcolm Scott, and we met with them early on in the design process. They were personable and approachable, and brought a lot of good ideas to the table”. Laylocks had big plans for what thew new building should achieve – the development was about more than just additional retail space. It had to get peoples attention on a busy road, as Hannah explains; “The original Venlo glasshouse was low – obscured by high hedges next to the A44 which is a busy road with a 60mph speed limit, our garden centre was too easy to miss. The new building needed to have much more presence and a real wow factor”.
Laylocks’ existing glazed Venlo building was extremely bright and whilst brightness was a key requirement in the new building there were issues for Hannah and Martin which they didn’t want to be repeated, “we did lose stock to sun damage and fading in our old building. One of Newspan’s recommendations was to use more solid panels in the roof and avoid excess glazing, allowing us to better control the amount of light entering the building and supplement with artificial low energy lighting when needed. Now, we have a lot more control so we’ve been able to stock whole new ranges we couldn’t before to broaden our offering to customers”.
Eye catching structure
The new building stands proudly on site to draw in passing trade
Valiant effort from the on site team
In tough conditions Newspan operatives battled through to meet key the delivery date
From the minute a spade was put in the ground the weather was against everyone involved in the project at Laylocks. In early 2020 Worcestershire was hit with awful weather which caused flooding across the county. Fortunately, Laylocks avoided any severe flooding but the site was still bombarded with rain. “The groundworks were pushed back by a month due to the weather, but Newspan were flexible with the schedule, liaising with the groundworkers and reprogramming to come up with the best new delivery date in order for us to make the all-important Spring opening that we needed”. The site operatives for Newspan put in a valiant effort amidst the challenging conditions and were flexible with slight changes from the customer. “We felt very supported during the building works; Dan was always available at the end of the phone to keep things running smoothly. Taking into account a few cheerfully accommodated additions that we requested as we went along, he kept the budget well on track too.”
Once the building was handed over it was down to the Laylocks team to oversee the shop fit. The hard work paid off and Laylocks were able to open on time. Sadly, the unforeseen circumstances of the Covid-19 outbreak scuppered their plans before they could gain full momentum. “All the stops were pulled out and we launched on time… five days before the Covid-19 pandemic forced the UK into lockdown. My father and I run Laylocks together and we grow 60% of the plants we retail here on site. After the huge efforts everyone had made to get the new building opened to the public, it was heart-breaking for the next few weeks to visit the empty garden centre to tend the stocks and see so much go to waste”.
As with the rest of the industry Laylocks were forced to sit tight before they could welcome customers back to their new building. Whilst lockdown has been challenging for many it has at least enabled people to spend more time in their gardens – boosting the interest in gardening across the nation. After a long wait Laylocks were able to welcome customers to their new building; “The more spacious new building has enabled an improved customer flow that’s made socially distanced shopping easier to implement. As well as the return of our loyal customers, we’re seeing an increase in new visitors with a lockdown-inspired appreciation for their gardens and a desire to improve their outdoor space. We are finding that customers are spending more time in the bigger building, browsing the wider range of products we can now stock. We’re aiming to keep shoppers busy here for half a day, rather than just an hour”.
Martin and Hannah both poured a lot of work into this project and have been presented with some big challenges along the way. Laylocks have proved to be a resilient and courageous team and they will no doubt reap the benefits of their hard work. The new building should be a valuable asset for Laylocks moving forward and, most importantly, the project was delivered successfully with a happy customer at the end of the job; “We would definitely recommend Newspan to other garden centres planning a new build development; they were knowledgeable and made insightful suggestions that enhanced the way the building met our criteria. They were fantastic overcoming the early delays caused by the weather, they stuck to their price, and they were great dealing with other subcontractors and making sure everything was handed over as it should be. Having Dan as our single point of contact from the get go had enormous continuity benefits – I knew I could pick the phone up at any stage and he would understand exactly what was going on. Despite the challenges of the first half of this year, Newspan’s support and our new building have readied us to achieve the next phase of our 10-year business plan. We’d definitely use Newspan again”.
"Despite the challenges of the first half of this year, Newspan’s support and our new building have readied us to achieve the next phase of our 10-year business plan. We’d definitely use Newspan 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.”