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.