New plans for cafe and heritage center in Radipole Park and Gardens

New plans for cafe and heritage center in Radipole Park and Gardens
Written by MAGASIR

NEW scaled-back plans have been lodged for a café and heritage center at Weymouth’s Radipole Park and Gardens.

The £1.2million town council project includes changes to the adjoining car park with extra disability parking and a drop-off point for community group minibuses.

Two full-time jobs and four part-time are likely to be created with the café facility which will be franchised and likely to be open every day from 10am to 5pm.

The design has been produced by Dorchester based Crickmay Stark Architects and has been modified from original plans approved in March 2020 which was delayed, partially by Covid, and then came back substantially over budget, resulting in a re-think.

Documents with the new designs say the project should still deliver the essential outcomes as part of a larger improvement program for the gardens although the café has been scaled back to a kiosk with a larger outside, covered, area.

The overall plans to revamp the park and gardens include new play equipment, a water feature, improved paths and planting, re-surfacing and improved parking. With the help of Weymouth College students and staff, a sensory garden area will be created alongside the new building.

A Heritage Lottery Fund grant has been won by the town council and the Friends of Radipole Park and Gardens for most of the costs, although the revised plans will now need approval from the fund.

The pavilion-style café and heritage center will provide three unsex public toilets which will be accessible without having to go inside the building. One will be suitable for wheelchairs and have baby change facilities. Apart from the tennis pavilion loos, which are only available to club members, there are no other public toilets in the park at the moment.

Said the brief for the application: “As well as serving refreshments and offering toilet facilities, it is intended that the café functions as a community heritage centre, with information on the history of the park, a hub for the Friends and volunteers and a center for education, enabling learning throughout the park and gardens. Research shows that if people better understand a place, they place more value in it and therefore are more likely to care for it, so protecting the facility in the future.”

The building will be the central point for a range of activities including a heritage trail, scavenger hunt, orienteering course, talks and walks programme, and interactive interpretation aimed at children.

“The revised scheme has had to reduce the café to a kiosk facility. However, the covered external area has been increased and will provide a sheltered location for the delivery of the interpretation for the park,” said the planning brief.

“The plan for the park aims to restore Radipole Park and Gardens so that it forms the green ‘heart’ of Weymouth where people go to enjoy high quality facilities, play, sports, outdoor events, activities and to relax and meet other people in a safe, well managed and welcoming setting. The new café and heritage center is the heart of that plan. It will provide a venue for people to meet with activities that they can become involved with, thereby improving the sense of community spirit and enhancing the quality of life.”

Public comments on the proposal remain open until January 12th.

In a 2017 questionnaire a community café and toilets were seen as being important by 88% of respondents; while two years later 90 per cent said the park would be improved if there was a café, with almost 95 per cent saying it would be better with improved toilet facilities.

Weymouth Town Council intend to franchise the café with the rental income ‘ring fenced’ to be used to maintain the building, park and gardens.

Security lights and CCTV will be fitted to the building with the car park layout redesigned to discourage anti-social behaviour.

About the author


Leave a Comment