Two garden centres told to stop click and collect service

Garden centres on the Isle of Wight — which had been offering a click and collect service to sell their supplies — have been stopped by the Isle of Wight Council for not following government guidelines.

Since lockdown began at the end of March, shops, other than those providing essentials, were told premises must close to members of the public, although ‘staff may be present to make deliveries or provide services in response to orders such as those through telephones, online or mail’.

Now, two garden centres — Medina Garden Centre and Honnor and Jeffery Garden Centres — who responded to the lockdown by setting up a click and collect service as well as delivery have had to stop part of the business.

In a statement on its website Honnor and Jeffery Garden Centres said it had been forced to stop.

It said: “We are disappointed with [the council’s] interpretation of government guidance; we had found a safe contact-free way of offering a much sought-after service, but we must follow their ruling.

“There is a big debate going on nationally, regarding the important role of garden centres during this lockdown and the benefits of gardening for positive mental health and of the fairness of different shops that are allowed to open or being forced to close when the items they sell are the same.”

Some complaints have been made about supermarkets being able to sell other gardening materials but local garden centres being told to close.

Honnor and Jeffery also apologised for increasing the delivery charge to cater for the orders which would have been processed as click and collect but said its hand was forced.

However, the Isle of Wight Council said it has been working closely with the Office for Product Safety and Standards, who provide advice and guidance for local authorities on the restriction regulations.

A spokesperson said: ” They confirm click and collect is only available to businesses permitted to be open.

“Businesses required to close under the legislation are still able to operate, but only with a delivery service.

“We have advised any business only permitted to offer delivery should cease any click and collect option.

“We are aware that the guidance and government policy is evolving to current situation and it is possible that this may change in the coming weeks. “