Monday, May 30, 2011

Valley Gardens Tea Room may return to private ownership.

One possibility being explored concerning the future of Saltburn’s popular tearooms in the Valley Gardens is that it returns to private ownership. Redcar and Cleveland Council, which runs it with employees from the Upsall Hall learning disability centre, Ormesby, explained that it was looking at a number of options on how to run the tearooms, Woodlands Centre and other services in the valley. Volunteers and the private sector were being consulted in the reviews.

The tearooms, which employ a dozen people seven days a week, was rented by a Saltburn café until about four years ago. Then the council refurbished it and, following the demolition of the only public conveniences in the valley, added public toilets.

Geoff Watkins, of Saltburn, who was among many people writing comments about the tearooms’ future in a visitors’ book, said he was concerned that if a private firm took it over prices might rise. He said modest prices and the all-week opening were among the attractions plus good quality food and attentive staff.

Other comments in the book included a plea for the "excellent" tearooms to be kept open as it was a "lovely family place" and a "useful feature of the Valley Gardens."

Sitting in the sun, enjoying the tearooms. Redcar and Cleveland Council
are considering its future and a return to private ownership is one possibility.

Several comments were from visitors from all over the north as well as those closer to home. A Redcar visitor wrote: "Please don’t close our café. It is the best thing in Saltburn and has brought in a lot of trade."
An elderly couple from Eston also visit regularly and look forward to their days out, often taking home some of the produce on offer.

A council spokesman said the Woodlands Centre was being run by other staff from the ranger and neighbourhood management teams following the decision of the remaining ranger there to take voluntary redundancy.
He said the council was making a £75,000-a-year saving through its review of services at the three woodland centres - Saltburn, Guisborough and Flatts Lane.

A petition calling for the Saltburn centre to remain open attracted more than 1,000 signatures in April. Meanwhile the council is continuing its review of staff costs across its services. "So far this year we’ve had no compulsory redundancies and 87 early retirement/voluntary redundancies," said the spokesman.

The Valley Garden's Tea Lawns in the 1930's

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