Ashley to be given green light to carry on

One of Sheffield’s best known park cafes is set to stay in the same hands for at least the next five years.

Ashley Charlesworth is in line for a renewed lease for Endcliffe Park Cafe, which he took over 12 years ago, turning it into a magnet for families and walkers.

Details are due to be confirmed next week by the council’s cabinet, which acts as trustee for the park charity.

It ends the uncertainty for Ashley, who is now looking to make minor alterations to part of the layout of the cafe, such as tackling the “bottleneck” of the entrance.

“It’s what we have been waiting for,” he said. “We want to move forward , but we’ll carry on doing what we have been doing because people like it. There’ll be no major changes, but we want to improve service, to make it faster.”

Other investment will judged in the wake of a “substantial” rent rise.

Under Ashley’s control, the cafe has become a popular destination in the park and on the Round Walk, but business depends to a large extent on the weather.

“The snow was terrible. We’ve had a bad winter, but there has been hardly any rain in April, and dry is good! Now we are praying for a long hot summer.”

Ashley added: “It’s the people who make it - the characters. They are very loyal. And it’s really family orientated.

Council cabinet member Isobel Bowler said: “We believe this to be a fair deal for the lessee and also good news for the park and its users. During these extremely difficult financial times, we are committed to working with our commercial partners to arrive at agreements which are fair to the operator and also offer a good deal for park users and the people of Sheffield.

“The café has become a key attraction in adding to people’s enjoyment of one of the city’s most popular parks and we know local people value the excellent service that has been provided there for several years now.

“I hope that Mr Charlesworth will find the new terms of his lease acceptable and that his business will continue to flourish in the park.”

Income from the lease has to be used towards the park’s maintenance.

*The cafe has said ‘farewell’ to Lynda Bradshaw, who has worked there for ten years. “She has been fantastic,” said Ashley. “It’s really sad to see her go.”