Community feel 'gutted' by loss of Queen's Park Cafe
PUBLISHED: 10:38 13 October 2017 | UPDATED: 10:38 13 October 2017
Park users say they are 'gutted' at the closure of the Queen's Park cafe which has been at the heart of the community for more than 25 years.
The popular cafe in the centre of the park run by the City of London Corporation, shut its door on October 1 with a note announcing its closure.
The note, left by leaseholder Toby Brown, thanked residents for their custom and cited “ a variety of reasons” for the closure.
Park lovers took to social media to express their shock and disbelief with some saying they were “gutted” and others that it was “overpriced”.
Tula Heyes, who ran the cafe from 1990 to 1993, told the Brent & Kilburn Times: “The Corporation priced me out of Queen’s Park.
“In the winter months it’s a killer. People just don’t go to the park, it’s too cold.
She added: “Somebody will come along and take it. I will consider putting in a tender. It would depend on how much money they want up front, what they say about rent that takes in consideration the winter months.
“I’d want it brought back into a community hub again.”
She added: “I appreciate the corporation has put a lot of money into the surrounding park and café. It looks lovely now. I understand they put money in but they can’t expect to get it back through high rent charges during those winter months.”
Mr Brown’s lease was due to expire in January, according to the corporation,
Kensal Rise deli Minkies beat nine other companies to win a contract to run the cafe in March 2016 in a tendering process that also included rent rises.
However in October the family run business, which operates in Chamberlayne Road, wrote to the corporation withdrawing its bid.
Cllr James Denselow, Labour councillor for Queen’s Park ward, said: “It’s disappointing to have a closed café in Queen’s Park and I urge the City of London to do whatever it can to expedite the process and get a new occupier in as soon as possible.
“Every day the cafe’s closed means family members and people in the park missing out.”
A spokesman for the corporation said: “A tender process for the café will begin shortly and we hope to have a new permanent provider in place by January 2018.
“We are currently investigating interim options to minimise the disruption of the service provided by the café.”