Sheffield park campaigners to question future plans for closed Rose Garden Cafe
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The Rose Garden Cafe in Graves Park closed suddenly in July following reports into the state of the 95-year-old building that raised serious concerns about the roof.
Sheffield City Council never put in place its plan to open a temporary replacement and, worried that the council would demolish the building, the Friends of Graves Park and the Save the Rose Garden Cafe have been working to get it reopened.
Both groups have been fund-raising to help cover the cost of building work. Councillors from Graves Park and Beauchief wards, including long-time park champion Cllr Ian Auckland, have pledged £20,000 in total from their local spending pots.
Work has started this week to prop up the building in order for more thorough structural surveys to take place. It’s not yet clear whether this work will allow cafe operators Brewkitchen to reopen from early December.
The issue comes up today (October 25) before the city council’s charity trustee sub-committee, which is likely to make the final decision on the future of the cafe. The park was set up with a charitable trust from Alderman JG Graves, who set up the park, of which the council is the sole trustee.
‘The only reasonable options available’
Members of both campaigns and It’s Our City were set to question the council’s intentions for the building at the meeting.
The report before the committee says that, following the investigations to ascertain the exact state of the building, options will be put forward to include restoration or demolition. These options will go out to a consultation process “on potential facilities, funding and opportunities”. It stresses that no decisions have yet been taken on any of the options put forward.
Initial reports say that the roof and timbers need replacing, the distinctive clock tower and front wall are both leaning and the window frames are rotten. The timber frame structure has also been damaged by water getting into the building.
The report says the five most likely scenarios are to do nothing and put safety measures in place to keep people away from the building, carry out structural stabilisation and refurbishment, demolish the building and replace it with a ‘modular facility’, demolish and replace the cafe with a more traditional building, or just demolish the building and clear the site.
The report notes: “A high-quality cafe facility within a park setting contributes to the customer experience of that park. It permits people to stay longer in that outdoor setting, enjoy it in all weathers, has the potential toimprove the well-being of visitors and build a stronger local community and neighbourhood. ”
The report will ask the sub-committee to agree that the options put forward are “the only reasonable options available to the trustees acting in the charity’s best interests.”
Officials will ask the Charity Commission for guidance and report back to the sub-committee on the response.