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Ashford: Plans for giant Bunnings store still on track despite multimillion-pound losses

By Dan Wright

Bunnings bosses say plans to open their first purpose-built store in Ashford are still on track - despite reporting multimillion-pound losses.

The Australian-owned company launched a strategic review of its UK operations in February, reporting losses of £97million.

But a spokesman says their plans for the giant 4,645 sq m shop next to the John Lewis at Home store are still progressing.

Five stores are proposed including Bunnings
Five stores are proposed including Bunnings

A planning application for the five large stores including the Bunnings DIY shop was submitted to Ashford Borough Council last month.

If approved, a standalone Costa and Vets4Pets practice would go next to the five stores, which would be built close to the Drovers roundabout.

In its planning application, developer Davies Street Castle City said: "The retail park will provide a hub to purchase DIY and home improvement goods, outdoor living, furniture and household goods.

Bunnings bosses bought Homebase, but are now reporting losses
Bunnings bosses bought Homebase, but are now reporting losses

"The scheme will deliver the first purpose-built Bunnings store in the UK.

"The Bunnings unit is 4,645 sq m, with an outdoor living garden centre/nursery and builders’ merchant.

"Alongside Bunnings will be a retail terrace of four units - the proposals are for sustainable development on an appropriate site that is already a recognised retail destination."

How the site could look
How the site could look

Bunnings bosses purchased Homebase in 2016 for £340 million, and now have 250 stores in the UK.

As part of the strategic review, between 20 to 40 stores could be closed down, but the results of the review will not be known until June at the earliest.

The Ashford outlet would become a neighbour to the nearby John Lewis at Home store and would be accessed via the same junction near Drovers roundabout.

If the scheme is approved, the store could open next summer.

Alongside Bunnings, the four other shops will be filled by furniture, homeware, kitchen and/or bathroom retailers.

The deadline for public comments is tomorrow (Sunday).

To view the scheme, visit www.ashford.gov.uk and search for the 18/00405/AS application.

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