Plans to open a new café in Sheffield’s Whirlowbrook Park five years after its predecessor closed controversially have taken a step forward.
The council has approved proposals to convert a disused shelter next to the park’s access road into a new place selling food and drinks, with building work expected to start soon.
When the venue shut in the park’s old hall, dismayed customers mounted a 1,500-signature petition in protest and Nick Clegg, then MP for Sheffield Hallam, took up the cause.
Whirlowbrook Hall was then taken over by Saxon Hotels, which signed a 25-year lease in 2013 with the council to take over the building as a wedding and events venue.
While the deal did not include reopening the public café in the hall itself – with its terrace and views down the valley – the company promised to provide a replacement.
Afternoon teas have been served in the hall, and a temporary hut was laid on in the car park during summer months serving refreshments, but a permanent solution has not emerged until now.
Paul Brown, director of Saxon Hotels, said an operator with previous experience of running a Sheffield café had been lined up, and their name would be revealed when the lease is signed.
“The quality will be exactly what visitors to the park will need and it will encourage people to come to the park just for the café,” he said.
Mr Brown said he hoped the public would be supportive, reiterating an appeal made when the plan was first announced earlier this year.
“It’s a shame it’s taken so long but I think it will be worth it.”