By Jenni Davidson
Brighton Dome has rejected rumours that the Pavilion Gardens are to be closed to the public.
It had been suggested that plans to place a new wall and fence around the gardens as part of a multi-million pound makeover would lead to the public being charged for entry.
In a statement, Brighton Dome said: “This is the opposite of our intention. In fact we want to open up the Royal Pavilion Garden not shut it off.”
“The gardens will remain a free resource for both local communities and visitors to the city.”
The gardens may be closed overnight to prevent anti-social behaviour and for occasional special events, such as outdoor theatre performances.
Otherwise they will continue to be open to the public as they are now.
Other fears raised in the café’s Facebook post were that mature elm trees would be cut down, entrances to the gardens closed off and the gardens privatised.
Brighton Dome stated that those too were unfounded.
The refurbishment of the Pavilion Gardens forms part of a £35m project to renovate the Royal Pavilion, Brighton Dome and Brighton Museum and Art Gallery.
It is thought that the refurbishment of the Pavilion Gardens will require the café to bemoved to a new location within the gardens.
The owners and customers of the Pavilion Gardens Café are campaigning to retain the café in its present position.
A support group, Friends of the Pavilion Gardens Café, has threatened to oppose plans for the entire project if a guarantee is not given that the café and patio will be preserved.
A comment posted on the group’s Facebook page reads: “[U]nless we get a quick and clear statement that the cafe building and patio will remain, we are going to make sure the objections are heard in all four corners of the earth, which includes the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Arts Council”.
The current Art Deco-style Pavilion Gardens Café building was built in 1950.
A café in the Pavilion Gardens has been run the Sewell family since 1941.