AFTERNOON tea is making a welcome return to one of Havant’s most historic parks.
Plans have been approved for a new tea room to open at Havant Park, in the town centre and is home to Havant Cricket Club.
Councillors at Havant Borough Council’s planning committee unanimously vote to approve renovating Park Lodge – a Victorian building which was once the park keeper’s cottage – into a tea room.
The building has lain empty for two years since the Citizen’s Advice Bureau moved out.
The plans were submitted by local businessman James Hadley, who wants to transform that corner of the park with the help of his wife Laura.
Planning officer Steve Weaver told the planning committee: ‘This is designed to augment the park as a hub of community activity.
‘It’s an appropriate use for an attractive building.
‘It will not an have any adverse properties lying where it does in splendid isolation at that end of the park.
‘The essential character of the building is very much being maintained.’
Planning officers said the tearoom would be located on a prominent gateway to the town.
Opening a cafe would indicate that the borough was ‘open for a business’, a planning report said.
Councillor Elaine Shimbart, who sits on the committee, said: ‘It’s a good idea to have a cafe in this location for residents using Havant Park and also on their way to the train station and bus station.
‘It’s a lovely old building and it should be put to good use.’
Councillor John Smith added: ‘It’s a nice place for residents to go and have a cup of tea.’
The councillor’s decision will officially change the use of the building from an office to a cafe.
The tearoom will occupy the ground floor and first floor of the property.
There will be an outdoor seating area with tables and plants.
The development is expected to create up to six new jobs.
Police officers advised that Havant Park occasionally gets complaints about drink-related nuisance at night.
The planning report added: ‘To reduce the likelihood to people congregating outside the building when the cafe is closed it is recommended all tables and chairs are placed inside.
‘Suitable locks should be provided to ensure the building is secure.’