On Thursday 9th November Friends members met representatives of Greenwich Council and their architects to discuss the best site for a cafe in the Pleasaunce (see graphic above - click to enlarge).
Friends members agreed that Option 1 (pictured) - siting the cafe close to the southern boundary wall - made the most sense, since it was close to the One O'Clock Club play area but a reasonable distance away from residential housing.
The Council has allocated £70,000 to build the cafe which will provide much-needed toilet facilities in the park and a welcome place to buy refreshments.
The architects will now go away and work up detailed designs for the Friends to view in early December. The Council meanwhile is beginning the process of assessing whether the cafe will be commercially viable. Cafe operators will only have to pay a peppercorn rent in return for agreeing to maintain the toilets.
The Council says it does not have the budget to renovate and maintain the existing (fully functional) toilets near the main entrance, so a commercially viable cafe seems to be the only way we can achieve this aim.
If a commercial operator proves difficult to find the Friends of East Greenwich Pleasaunce have offered to run the cafe ourselves as a kind of co-operative venture. Our recent survey of Friends members showed that park toilets were a top priority for most people.
The firm of architects chosen by Greenwich Council is Alexander Sedgley, the company which designed the Creekside Centre in Deptford (left). The firm specialises in sustainable, eco-friendly projects.