The shock closure of Squires Garden Centre is being blamed directly on the Royal Borough's plans to allow the site to be considered for housing in the future.

A statement by Squires has revealed the ironic fact that the potential removal of the same Green Belt restrictions that prevented its business in Oakley Green from expanding and flourishing has led to potential developers lining up to buy them out. The centre will close in the autumn.

A Squires company spokesman said: "A number of development businesses expressed interest in buying the site. Given the inability to grow in the ways the company would like, these offers were considered seriously and a decision made to sell the site."

A blueprint for the Royal Borough's new Local Plan plan is about to be submitted to a Government inspector outlining planning policy until 2033. It has angered many residents because it would allow areas of Green Belt – including parts of Oakley Green inhabited by Squires and the nearby Wyevale garden centre – to be built on.

Majeed Naheed from the recently set up RBWM Residents Action Group (RRAG) said: "The council tried to tell us the garden centres were safe but what they have done has had the opposite effect.

"Now Squires has revealed this it shows how flawed the proposed Borough Plan is."

Squires has indicated it will use the money from the sale of the site to set up on new sites across Berkshire and Surrey - and is hoping to find another site in Windsor or Maidenhead.

It is unclear whether developers have also made overtures to Wyevale. The company would not comment this week.

Naheed Majeed said there had been a complete breakdown in relations between the RRAG and the Royal Borough.

She said: "We have tried numerous times to engage with the council. If they had engaged we might have sat down round a table and come up with a plan we could all agree.

"We are not against housing. We are pro-development but we want the right houses in the right place."

The RRAG now plans to challenge the proposed borough plan, believing it is legally flawed.

But the council's lead member for planning and health David Coppinger said: "It is difficult to respond to RRAG. I find myself asking who are you, who is on your committee, trying to pin down who is the head of it all is impossible."