A CAFÉ in a Whirlowbrook Park in Sheffield which closed despite fierce protests is set to reopen after a new operator signed a 25-year contract.
Whirlowbrook Hall will again be run as a wedding and events venue following the agreement between the council and Saxon Hotels Ltd.
The hall will reopen on May 4 this year with a garden party.
The firm has pledged to build a new café ready for mid-2014 - and has offered to serve afternoon teas at the weekends this summer while work is carried out.
Coun Isobel Bowler, cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure, said the announcement was ‘great news for Sheffield’.
“The hall belongs to the city - it can’t just sit there empty,” she said.
But Coun Bowler added keeping the café in the hall was ‘not a realistic option’.
“The café needs to be separate,” she said. “The problem from a business point of view was events couldn’t start until 5pm at weekends because the café was open. I think in the current economic environment it’s a really good result.”
The café traded in the park for 60 years before closing last October, when previous operator Fretwell-Downing, based in Grindleford, surrendered its lease.
Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg joined park users to protest against the move, and a petition of 1,500 signatures was whanded in.
Enquiries and bookings are now being taken ready for the hall’s reopening celebrations in May.
Visit Whirlowbrook Hall or call 0114 321 0209.