Caterers invited to bid to run four closed cafés in Enfield parks

Enfield Council is also inviting “expressions of interest” to open brand new cafés at another three borough parks, reports James Cracknell

The cafe ar Oakwood Park is among four in the borough currently closed
The cafe ar Oakwood Park is among four in the borough currently closed

Enfield Council says it hopes to find new operators to run its cafés in four parks “as quickly as possible” – while also encouraging “expressions of interest” to open three brand new venues.

The cafés at Trent Park, Whitewebbs Park, Town Park and Oakwood Park all closed on the same day last month when enforcement action was taken against the leaseholder following a “contract breach” which the Dispatch understands amounted to thousands in unpaid rent.

Now, the council is inviting catering companies to apply to reopen and run each of the four closed cafés, but is also promoting the potential for brand new cafés to be opened at Jubilee Park and Pymmes Park in Edmonton, plus Enfield Playing Fields.

The council says this is part of the Labour administration’s commitment to open more park cafés across the borough.

A spokesperson said: “Enfield Council is currently advertising for applications for four park cafés and is working as quickly as possible to review and accept applications from potential new operators.

“We are also advertising for three new cafés in Jubilee and Pymmes Park, and Enfield Playing Fields, following our commitment to invest in our parks and introduce more cafés. Expressions of interest will be out for tender soon.”

The new cafés would need to be opened after converting existing disused or dilapidated structures at the parks, such as toilets and changing rooms. In a commercial brochure promoting the catering opportunities and inviting bids, the council says the “bustling parks” offer “the future opportunity for café provisions”.

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Enfield Council is inviting "expressions of interest" to open a café within the pavilion at Enfield Playing Fields
Enfield Council is inviting “expressions of interest” to open a café within the pavilion at Enfield Playing Fields

Because the cafés would require significant building work to take place, at this stage the council is only seeking to hear from interested parties rather than encouraging financial bids, and it is likely the council would need to provide investment itself.

At Enfield Playing Fields, which is very well used by local sports clubs with its many pitches for football, rugby and even baseball, the council says it wants the central pavilion block to be converted to provide “much needed hospitality to those using the playing fields, such as families, clubs and all those enjoying the space”.

In addition, the commercial brochure seen by the Dispatch includes tenders for council-owned cafes that are in continuing operation – at Dugdale Arts Centre and Enfield Town Library, both run by EN Food, and at Forty Hall Estate. This does not necessarily mean the current operators would leave.

The council spokesperson said: “We are further introducing more opportunities for local businesses and entrepreneurs by advertising opportunities at Dugdale Arts Centre, Enfield Town Library and Forty Hall café – helping our local economy further.”

Regarding the potential recovery of lost rent at the four closed cafés, they added: “The council is unable to comment on any legal proceedings with regard to the previous operator.”

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