Sheffield’s Norfolk Heritage Park Cafe set to reopen with Graves Park Rose Garden Cafe campaigner in charge

A Sheffield park cafe is set to be leased to the manager of the Rose Garden Cafe at Graves Park, who fought for it to reopen.
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Julie Collins of the Rose Garden Cafe and Kelsey Booth are set to take over the cafe at Norfolk Heritage Park, which is part of the Centre in the Park. It closed last August when the previous operators retired.

The proposal goes forward for approval at a meeting of Sheffield City Council’s charity sub-committee tomorrow, Thursday January 26. The park is one of many in the city to be owned by a charity, with the council as sole trustee. Graves Park is also one of them.

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A report to the sub-committee says that the property was previously operated by Norfolk Park Catering. When the staff retired, it was marketed as a business opportunity and Julie and Kelsey were chosen as the successful operators.

Julie Collins speaking at a Sheffield City Council meeting last year to call for the reopening of the Rose Garden Cafe in Graves Park. She has now won a bid to run the cafe at Norfolk Heritage ParkJulie Collins speaking at a Sheffield City Council meeting last year to call for the reopening of the Rose Garden Cafe in Graves Park. She has now won a bid to run the cafe at Norfolk Heritage Park
Julie Collins speaking at a Sheffield City Council meeting last year to call for the reopening of the Rose Garden Cafe in Graves Park. She has now won a bid to run the cafe at Norfolk Heritage Park
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The report notes: “The provision of a cafe in the park is seen as fulfilling the requirement to improve public’s conditions of life by providing a place where the public can socialise and take refreshments as part of the overall park experience.”

It adds: “Overall this proposal will have a positive impact that will benefit users of Norfolk Heritage Park.

Finally reopened

Norfolk Heritage Paerk in Sheffield, where the cafe is due to reopen soonNorfolk Heritage Paerk in Sheffield, where the cafe is due to reopen soon
Norfolk Heritage Paerk in Sheffield, where the cafe is due to reopen soon

“The provision of a cafe is important to making green spaces more widely accessible, and consequently should encourage social interaction, visitors to stay longer in the outdoors, bring new users to the park and increaseopportunities for the community connections needed to get people more active hence promoting health and well-being.”

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The lease will relieve the council of the maintenance and decoration of the cafe interior and the new lessees will also have to pay a service charge, says the report. They will become temporary tenants while a new lease is being drawn up.

Last year Julie spoke passionately at a council meeting about the Rose Garden Cafe, which she managed for catering firm Brewkitchen, and outlined its importance to the community. Staff eventually lost their jobs after the building closed last July at 15 minutes’ notice because of safety concerns raised by a surveyor’s report.

The building finally reopened in limited fashion in December after the structure was propped up. Tomorrow’s meeting is also due to hear an update on the Rose Garden Cafe.

Several surveys have taken place on the building, including an independent one conducted on behalf of the Friends of Graves Park. They have worked alongside campaign Save the Rose Garden Cafe to try to save the building.

‘Fantastic’

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Andy Kershaw from the campaign welcomed the news about Julie and said she will divide her time between there and the Rose Garden Cafe. He said on Facebook: “She will be fantastic and run it with Kelsey Booth. Congratulations Julie and Kelsey.”

The Friends were also worried that the problem-hit Sheffield Container Park on Fargate would go into storage at the Norton Nursery site at Graves, which want to return to parkland. They were pleased to hear Coun Bryan Lodge, who chairs the charity sub-committee, say the suggestion was unacceptable.