The campaign to preserve the Pavilion Gardens Café appears to have resorted to disinformation to further its cause according to the owners of the gardens, Brighton & Hove City Council.
The most recent campaign posting on Facebook states that, under the proposals for revamping the Pavilion estate [see earlier story] the gardens will be totally fenced off and the public will be charged for entry.
Cllr. Geoffrey Bowden, chair of the economic development committee, has categorically denied that this will be the case insisting that the opposite is true saying that the gardens suffer from worrying levels of anti-social behaviour after dark and the council is keen to secure them in dead of night but there is no intention to make them any less accessible than they currently are during the day.
There will also be no charge to enter them. The redevelopment proposals suggest occasionally using the gardens as a venue for large cultural and artistic events, some of which may incur a charge but there will also be events in the gardens that will be free to the public and there is no plan to levy a fee for simply entering the grounds. There is already a precedent for this when the gardens were used for the famous Spiegeltent during the Brighton Festival.
The Facebook page rails against the likely demolition of the café to make way for a proper visitor centre and access to the gardens from New Road saying that the other entrances will be closed. It also cites the loss of mature trees to facilitate the New Road entrance. The Council insist none of the other entrances will be closed and that no trees will be felled in the construction of a new entrance.
Cllr Bowden also points out that the existing café, constructed in 1950, will be replaced with a new café facility as part of a dedicated visitor centre; something that is sorely missing from one of the most complete Royal Palaces in Europe where people have to queue in the rain to enter on a winter's day.
ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP COMMENT
In the hubbub over the café we must not lose sight of why the Pavilion Estate is being revamped in the first place. The Pavilion, the Museum and the Dome are all in receipt of public money from the city’s budget. This is a budget that has seen literally millions of pounds of cuts over the past three years and is faced with finding an additional £25m of savings every year for the next five years.
The prospect of the city council shelling out increasing amounts for the upkeep of buildings of national importance is just not sustainable. If we are to enjoy the fruits of the Pavilion, Dome and Museum they will have to pay their way and that means making them work better.
In addition, buildings of national importance should offer a better experience to visitors and residents. Revamping the whole estate so it works as a single entity will do that and there is no point in carping about it; it has to be done.
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