Pavilion Gardens Café in Brighton given reprieve

Posted On 22 Mar 2014 at 9:49 pm

The owner of the Pavilion Gardens Café has spoken of his relief that his family-run business has been given a reprieve.

The Latest website reported that the café would be protected in the £35 million redevelopment of the Royal Pavilion Gardens.

The café has been David Sewell’s family since the 1940s.

There were fears that the multimillion-pound plans to revamp the gardens involved demolishing the popular café.

After thousands of people backed a campaign to save it, Mr Sewell said that he had received assurances from officials that the café would remain in place.

Mr Sewell told the Latest: “It was something they should never have got themselves in to. I feel it could have all been sorted out with a different approach.”

Brighton Dome and Festival, working with Brighton and Hove City Council, announced plans for a wide-ranging revamp of the area last year.

But after no public assurances were given that the café would remain, many felt that it was only a matter of time before it was earmarked for demolition.

Thousands backed the campaign to save the family business, prompting officials to backtrack this week.

Mr Sewell said that he was “tired” and in need of a break.

He said: “It has been very difficult for us and the Friends of the Café as we have all been fighting this alongside doing our jobs.

“I look forward to working with the bid to make sure the result is in the interests of those that use the gardens and not just those looking at a drawing board.”

The proposal for a masterplan said that the historical area was visited by up to five million people a year.

Those behind the revamp said that the plans would create 115 jobs, boost visitor numbers by 260,000 and bring millions of pounds into the local economy.

A bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund has been drafted and news is expected in the coming months about whether the project has moved into the next round in the bidding process.

Council chief executive Penny Thompson said: “I’m delighted we have reached an agreement to work together.

“This project is vital to the heart of the city and needs the input of the Pavilion Gardens Café community to help shape a Royal Pavilion Estate for the 21st century.

“We will strive to preserve and recognise the contribution of the 20th century in the form of the café buildings and patio which are clearly so precious to so many.”

Brighton Dome and Festival chief executive Andrew Comben said: “We need to develop the Royal Pavilion estate, including the café, patio and friends community, as something fantastic and sustainable for the 21st Century.

“I’m delighted we are working together to find productive solutions to some of the challenges currently faced by the estate.”

  1. Valerie Paynter Reply

    And listen up BHCC: Not one tree on the New Road side is to be felled, OK? Not one. An open air cafe under mature trees is a truly gracious asset. An oasis of calm and tranquillity.

    Sadly BHCC’s mantra is “vibrant” and hectic is not what tourists in need of a sit-down and cuppa want or people on lunch breaks, or just having a few hours in town.

    And if New Road is a an embarrassment you want the Royal Pavilion Estate to put right (it DOES look weird and it DOES lack connectivity with the garden)then look to either end of the Gardens area and leave the Cafe area in the middle exactly as it is in that semi circle which was purpose-built to have it.

    My only complaint is that hours of opening are unpredictable and perhaps the building needs attention and could have an opening into New Road and a little sheltered seating for rainy and winter days (sideways build maybe).

    The barrier between New Road and the Gardens is more about the long and now tatty bench and the island seating which requires a considerable amount of balancing to sit on.

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