GUERNSEY company Climate Controls is involved in a £5m. plan to create a ‘super nursery’ in London’s Hyde Park.
The Royal Parks project will grow nearly all the 500,000 flowers and shrubs it plants across eight parks in the capital, including Green Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens and Regent’s Park.
A dilapidated nursery dating back to the 1960s, the size of a football pitch, has been demolished in Hyde Park to make way for a state-of-the-art nursery, which is being built by Climate Controls and long-term partner, Belgian firm Deforche Construct.
The new technology used will allow the greenhouse roof to open and close dependent on the weather. The roof will help the acclimatisation of young plants, so they do not have to be moved outside for hardening, saving on labour and maximising space.
The development will feature a rainwater recovery system, LED lighting throughout, maximum energy efficiency and 13 controlled zones, operated by Climate Controls’ technology, to adapt the climate to the needs of the plant.
It is expected that the new development will save The Royal Parks £200,000 a year in planting costs and cut down on transport costs.
Climate Controls’ technology, developed in Guernsey, is integral to the new build and the company will provide ongoing support for the site once completed from its office new Kew Gardens in London.
Pierre Bisson, from Climate Controls, has been a regular visitor to the site, which is now clear and ready for building to start.
‘This means a lot to us,’ he said. ‘They are putting their trust in us to do this and deliver on time and budget.
‘The Royal Parks is a very prestigious client and we have already received more inquiries on the back of this project being announced.’
Climate Controls celebrates 50 years in business this year. A family business, it employs seven people in Guernsey and four technical support staff in the UK across two offices. The company has developed into an export business as the local industry has declined.
‘We still support the Guernsey industry, but essentially now we fix and make components and ship them all around the world.’
The new nursery is expected to be operational by the summer.
Steve Edwards, head of special projects at The Royal Parks, said: ‘We were faced with a decision – either build a new nursery from scratch or completely outsource. However, most commercial nurseries grow a maximum of 100 varieties compared to the 2,000 varieties we require.
‘We were simply not prepared to sacrifice the high standard of horticultural excellence that millions of visitors each year have come to expect.
‘Sustainability has been at the very forefront of this project and we have selected a design which meets the highest environmental standards.’