The Town Council would like to take the opportunity to respond to the recent comments on social media regarding the Collett Park consultation, and in particular concerns around the potential redevelopment of the cafe.

The Town Council’s planned redevelopment of the cafe and facilities is a continuation of the council’s investment in the park following the successful redesign of the play area. The project is currently under consultation to ensure that any changes are in line with the needs and wants of the community. The current consultation will help inform the functionality, look and feel of the future space.

It is the Town Council’s responsibility, as trustees of the Collett Park charity, to care for and maintain the park for the benefit of the wider community. The buildings in the park, including the current café, toilets and storage facility/yard have been used and valued for some years but are in need of urgent regeneration in order to ensure they last and meet the needs of the town long into the future.

We are looking to provide a cafe space that can be operated in all weather conditions, with longer opening hours all year round, including indoor and outdoor covered seating. By providing a space that is open and accessible all year round, we can better support both the public and community groups who meet formally or informally. These include groups like the Health Connectors, the Health Walks, Parkrun as well as informal social groups and wellbeing classes.

We also want a space that can be used by the community and provide a wider range of facilities. This includes enhanced toilet facilities for all users, including disabled individuals. Also, better connectivity for people accessing the park by foot, by bicycle or by car.

The decision has not yet been made as to how the new cafe facilities will operate and this will be discussed at a council meeting on June 25th. One of the options under consideration is the council operating the cafe and employing the team directly. Another option is that the café could be run and operated by a tenant much like the current arrangements. The current tenant would of course be given the opportunity to be part of the new cafe offering, in the same way that any other prospective tenants would be. In either case, any surplus income generated could be used to help offset any relevant precept element of the council tax bill.

As always, the decisions made by the council are made in public meetings that everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend. All the information about our meetings including upcoming meeting agendas, recordings of previous meetings and more can be found here. The next meeting will be held on 25th June, in the council chamber in the former Mendip Shape building and any member of the community is welcome to attend. Every meeting begins with a 15-to-20-minute slot where members of the public are encouraged to submit a request to speak via the town council office.