Fenwick’s Café ‘overwhelmed’ by support for plans to remain in Priory Park after 2020

Rob and Dawn Bunker, owners of Fenwick's Cafe in Priory Park
Rob and Dawn Bunker, owners of Fenwick's Cafe in Priory Park

The owners of Fenwick’s Café have described being ‘amazed and overwhelmed’ by support for their plans to stay put in Priory Park beyond 2020.

Dawn and Rob Bunker, who have run the business since 2014, have temporary planning permission and a lease that both expire at the end of 2020 and are hoping to extend both.

However Chichester District Council officers’ preferred option for enhancements to Priory Park, costing an estimated £599,000, include removing the café buildings and instead letting the brick pavilion out as a café.

But cabinet members voted to put the majority of the proposals on hold until the planning issues for Fenwick’s Café are resolved when they met on Tuesday.

Afterwards Dawn described being ‘amazed and overwhelmed by the support we have had’.

She added: “I think the decision is really positive.

“They have clearly sat up and realised they could be making the most terrible mistake by moving the café.”

They now had ‘breathing space’ to work with council planners to find out what their issues are, with a meeting scheduled for tomorrow.

Tony Dignum, leader of the council, described how the approach recommended by officers ‘presents a considerable problem’ and they were all aware of the popularity of the café.

He said: “We do not know now whether the operators will be successful in being granted an extension of planing permission after 2020 if they should seek such an extension.

“This is a matter for the planning function of the council and the planning committee.

“Until that issue is decided it is not sensible to commit public money to refurbishment of the building known as the brick pavilion when it’s not clear what its future use would comprise.”

Plans to demolish the old depot buildings and restore the Coade Stone statue were both supported, with a revised budget of £57,000.

What do you think of the decision? Email the newsdesk.

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‘Let Fenwick’s Café stay in Priory Park after 2020’

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