Shepton Mallet Town Council is pleased to provide an update on the ongoing development of the Collett Park Cafe project. Following a thorough review and recommendation by the working party, the Full Council has agreed to lease the new café facility to an operator and appoint a Highways engineer to address specific access and logistical challenges that need to be addressed to ensure Collett Park continues to serve our community for future generations.

We would like to thank the current café and its tenant, who have been an integral part of the Collett Park community. The existing tenant, along with any other interested parties, will be invited to tender for the new lease for a permanent cafe facility. This open invitation ensures that all qualified candidates have the opportunity to contribute to an enhanced café experience.

The unique challenges of vehicle access and travel considerations around the café and toilet site have necessitated the appointment of a Highways specialist. These challenges include:

  • One-way right of way access through the Shape Mendip car park.
  • Single track nature of Park Road during peak times.
  • Requirement for safe service/delivery access and larger vehicle maneuverability for events.

The Town Council remains committed to employing local people and fostering community involvement through all aspects of running facilities in Collett Park. Having a permanent cafe will not only serve as a social venue, but also as a vital community space. It is envisioned that it can function as a hub for local organisations such as health visitors, community groups, and other support groups to meet and engage with the community as an alternative to traditional indoor spaces.

By leasing the café to an operator, the Council ensures that professional management meets high service standards, including extended opening hours and weekend availability. This approach provides substantial employment opportunities for local residents, fostering economic growth and community well-being.

The lease agreement will comply with the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, with specific provisions to ensure the maintenance and cleanliness of public toilets serving both café customers and park visitors. Clear, definable conditions within the contract will guarantee that the operator meets the Council’s expectations, with terms allowing for contract termination if necessary.

This initiative is part of the Council’s broader strategic plan to improve the built environment by working with partners to protect and enhance community spaces.

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, you can find out more about it here.

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 updating 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, Park Run as well as informal social groups and well-being 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 and we are looking into the provision of a Changing Place toilet. We also want to improve the connectivity for people accessing the park by foot, by bicycle or by car.

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.