New owners set to take over Towneley Park café, but plans to re-open on hold
A decision on who will run the Old Stables Café in Towneley Park is to be made soon – however, the premises will not re-open immediately due to being in a state of disrepair.
Burnley Council said tenders to run the popular café were due in at the end of the month, but a re-opening date was some time off as the property requires extensive refurbishment including the installation of a new kitchen.
The council reclaimed the café in February following a Court of Appeal judgement where a ruling confirmed that tenants Mohammed Majeed Faiz and Shakeela Faiz had breached the conditions of their lease by subletting the premises to SASSF Limited without properly informing the council.
Since then news on the future of the building has been quiet, much to the exasperation of park regulars.
Burnley resident Janice Lee contacted the Express to say the continued closure of the café was doing a disservice to the park while also adversely affecting the reputation of Towneley Hall.
"This is a disservice to the people of Burnley and visitors to the park," she said. "The pandemic has heightened the need for the services previously available, and a drinks machine in the hall shop, plus a van dispensing drinks and snacks are no substitute.
"Daily, visitors approach the building, peer inside and turn away bewildered.
"The reputation of their 'Jewel in the Crown' is being adversely affected."
A Burnley Council spokesman said: "Once the council regained possession of the Old Stables in February, options for the venue were considered.
"The council decided to resume the tendering process which had started in 2019. Tenders are due in by the end of this month and a decision on who will operate the café will be made promptly. However, the café cannot be re-opened immediately because it is not currently in a fit and safe condition.
"The property requires refurbishment which will include external repairs including work to the roofs and windows, rewiring, replacement of fire alarm and burglar alarm systems, installation of a complete kitchen and redecoration.
"It is difficult to say how long this will take, but as soon as the new operator is identified, arrangements will be made to improve the temporary catering offer that is available whilst the refurbishment of the café is underway."