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£250,000 sought for new Victoria Park cafe

Newbury Town Council to apply for loan to help fund project

Dan Cooper

Dan Cooper


01635 886632

Victoria Park cafe design

NEWBURY Town Council has agreed to apply for a £250,000 loan to enable it to finally build a new state-of-the-art café in Victoria Park.

Plans for the 80-seater café – which will include toilets, an external water fountain, an office, CCTV and free wi-fi – have been in the pipeline for more than two years.  

The project stalled and the costs increased when the Environment Agency told the council it would have to raise the building above the surface of the park by 300mm to address flooding concerns.

The café will cost £500,000 to build, £250,000 of which is being provided by Greenham Common Trust, with the remaining £250,000 coming from the Public Works Loan Board.

Newbury Town Council said that interest payments will be covered by any commercial business appointed to operate within the café.  

When built, it will be situated in the place of the existing building, which currently homes a small café kiosk and a storeroom for park and boating equipment.

Councillors discussed the details of the café project at a meeting on Monday, but excluded the press and public on the grounds that commercially sensitive data would be discussed.

However, redacted documents made available to the Newbury Weekly News by the council after the meeting reveal some of the details.

Councillors have agreed that the building should be owned and managed by the council, with the café leased.

It has also been agreed that the council seeks tenders for the lease during the design stage to ensure that a preferred occupier fits in with the project’s design objectives.

The tender will be for a 10-year lease with a five-year break clause and a five- year income review.

The leaseholder  be responsible  for  internal  parts  only, including  servery counter, internal/external furniture, white goods, extraction and repairs.

The café plans form part of a huge makeover of the park.

As reported by the NWN last month, the tennis courts in the park are currently undergoing a £100,000 refurbishment to see the damaged facilities returned to their former glory.

The work is being funded from the £600,000 legal settlement secured by the town council from Parkway developer Costain, together with a £39,893 grant from the Lawn Tennis Association.

A portion of the funds from the Costain settlement has been allocated for the refurbishment of the football pitch, which has been stripped and reseeded ahead of the 2017/18 season.

The bowls green has also recently been resurfaced.

Cracks appeared in the park and surrounding area shortly after the developer conducted water extraction works when building Parkway shopping centre’s underground car park in 2010.

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Article comments

  • Ihavenonickname

    08/11/2016 - 15:03

    Seems like a good idea to upgrade the existing building and to incorporate toilets once again in the park. But it is very important to charge an affordable rent to attract the right tennant running the facility at prices ordinary people can afford! Get this wrong and it will be yet another white elephant!


  • Oldmoaner

    08/11/2016 - 13:01

    Please do not use my precept on this complete waste of money, just carry on with your play acting, it is the most dangerous thing ever to let Newbury Town Council have money, When they wake up they have to find something to waste our hard earned council tax on.


  • NewburyDenizen

    08/11/2016 - 12:12

    what a waste.. will go un-used the majority of the year. Just another failure to add to WBC's laundry list of failures.


  • Bombey

    08/11/2016 - 10:10

    Provides income to the council which can be used to replace cash cut by central Govt....


    • SimonKirby


      08/11/2016 - 17:05

      Current rental income from the cafe is something like £3k, but the repayments on the £250k to the Public Works Loan Board are going to be around £40k, so this vanity project is going to be a net cost and will soak up public money that could be funding essential public services.


      • Bombey

        08/11/2016 - 19:07

        I doubt the new cafe will be rented out at £60 a week.


      • SimonKirby


        08/11/2016 - 18:06

        Apologies, repayments on a £250k PWLB loan are going to be more like £20k than £40k, but that's still an order of magnitude more than the present rental income.


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