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Rebecca Hughes, marketing assistant at Barton Grange Garden Centre in Lancashire, reveals the details behind the centre’s ambitious plans to create a venue where customers can stay the whole day…
Tell us about the history of Barton Grange…
Barton Grange dates back to 1945 when Mr and Mrs Edward Topping bought a small manor house on the A6 at Barton with plans to turn it into a hotel. These plans quickly expanded from a hotel to also include a landscaping business, alongside a garden centre and two nurseries! The hotel still remains in the original site, but the garden centre moved just down the road to where it is now at Brock in March 2008 – 10 years ago now, so it was time for the next project, The Flower Bowl!!
When and how did the concept of the Flower Bowl arise?
Planning of The Flower Bowl started 6 years ago with construction beginning 12 months ago. So a lot of thought and detail has definitely gone into this development!
What will the Flower Bowl offer?
The Flower Bowl is going to be a mixed leisure destination open 7 days a week from 9:30am until 10:30pm. It will offer the following facilities:
A Curling Rink with four ice sheets, to be used by club curlers, social curlers and hopefully school groups, with the potential to become a centre of excellence. Open to everyone to come and have a go!
Ten Pin Bowling with eight bowling lanes, two of which are in a private room which can be booked for parties.
A Premium Cinema with three screens, showing a variety of classic films, recent releases and live events.
A covered, outdoor Crazy Golf Course, constructed to an exceptionally high standard with unique challenges.
Blooms Restaurant, offering a comprehensive and varied menu from early lunch until the evening, in a contemporary but relaxed setting.
The Ocean Fish and Chip Restaurant offering a traditional fish and chip shop menu.
The Oasis Coffee Shop, located in the foyer area, with seating overlooking the Curling Hall.
There will also be two Golf Simulators which will use the latest technology to offer the virtual experience of playing some of the best golf courses around the world.
How will the design impact on the use of the space?
We don’t want to give too much away about the design, especially the interior; however, from the outside you can see that the roof is curved, imitating a hill. This roof has also been seeded with grass and is to fit in with the local area. In a couple of years’ time, once the grass has matured, we are hoping to set sheep grazing up there! Also, being The Flower Bowl, the external walls are printed with a flower pattern which continues right the way around the whole building.
Who will manage the facilities such as curling and the cinema?
This will all be done in-house.
What advice would you give to garden centre planning a large-scale project such as this?
Any large scale project takes a lot of planning, a great amount of detail and excellent coordination and management. We are extremely lucky to have a highly skilled and motivated team supporting us all the way. All the hard work put in to this new and highly unique development will make the end result even more rewarding.