As we have reported in previous issues of The Week In, the cafe has stood empty since the previous tenants vacated at the end of their lease. Attempts to open on a short term tenancy were abandoned at Easter and 30 prospective operators have since responded to the council’s adverts for expressions of interest.
Yesterday, following growing criticism voiced on social media about a rat infestation at the cafe over the winter months, the council issued a statement confirming its ongoing commitment to the popular venue.
The statement read: “Bath & North East Somerset Council is working towards reopening the café in the Keynsham Memorial Park with a new operator to cater for the increased usage of the park during the summer. The Council remains committed to maintaining a quality café outlet in Keynsham Memorial Park and is currently seeking experienced operators to provide the new catering facility.
“The requirement is for an operator to provide catering provision suitable for a much loved town park. Currently 30 operators have come forward and the Council anticipates being in a position to appoint the operator by early to mid-June to enable the successful operator to open during the popular summer months.
“The Council had hoped to secure an operator to provide refreshments in the interim while this process was carried out, but following a contract offer the interested party was no longer able to proceed.
“The Council, as landlord, will ensure that the existing building is fit for the successful operator to move in and until that time will continue to maintain the building both internally and externally. The new operator will however provide their own café based fixtures and fittings – which is standard practice in the catering industry.”
Martin Veal, Cabinet Member for Community Services, added: “We are very conscious of the importance of the café to the local community and the Council considers that the café plays an important part in encouraging local people to spend more time in one of the area’s delightful and most popular parks. Although the appointment of a new café operator will have taken longer than originally anticipated, we are pleased that 30 new operators see the commercial potential in Keynsham Memorial Park for a café and our aspiration for a successful opening to meet demand during the summer months.”
This year’s Keynsham Music Festival takes place during the week commencing 27th June culminating in the all day event in the park on Sunday 3rd July.