Park will again be left without a cafe

The team at Fenwick's in Priory Park SUS-140417-162004001
The team at Fenwick's in Priory Park SUS-140417-162004001

A FRESH attempt is to be made to find a cafe operator for Hotham Park in Bognor Regis.

Arun District Council is to re-advertise the business in a few weeks after asking firms for their opinions.

But this year will be the second summer in a row the popular open space will lack dedicated eating facilities.

The previous cafe operator, Dawn Bunker, who left in early 2013, has moved to Chichester and opened in its Priory Park this month.

Arun District Council wanted to create a purpose-built restaurant but its chosen operator failed to go ahead last year.

Bognor Regis Civic Society chairman Hugh Coster said a big contrast existed between the two parks. He labelled Arun’s handling of the matter ‘pathetic’.

“Now Hotham Park has no cafe at all, which is ridiculous for the tourist attraction it is supposed to be.

“Arun is still rambling on about maybe putting up a new cafe building, no operator in sight,” he said.

“They just want to gamble your money on putting up the building and are hoping someone might come along and open a cafe in it.”

Gillian Brown, Arun’s leader, said Inspire Leisure had been successfully running the catering kiosk in Hotham Park and had a top hygiene rating of five.

“They have also widened the range of food and drink on offer as well as making improvements to the existing building.

“The district council’s plans for the new cafe have not changed. Council officers continue to work on progressing the project for a new purpose-built cafe in Hotham Park.

“It is our expectation that it will be ready to open as previously proposed in the spring of 2015.

“Arun is investing £250,000 into the design and build of the cafe shell,” she said.

Cllr Mrs Brown said it was important the new cafe had a design and quality to match its unique setting.

Only one operator came forward in January when the tender to run the cafe was advertised. The proposal was unsatisfactory and the council rejected it.