Groups, businesses and residents are being asked to come forward with their ideas for using a former café space in Chesterfield Library.
The space on the bottom floor of the library in New Beetwell Street, has been occupied by Café Browser since 1984 but the café closed its doors in March 2020 due to the first national coronavirus lockdown and has not reopened.
Before the lockdown closure, Café Browser had been struggling to thrive in recent years due to competition from a number of new cafes and eateries opening up close by.
In 2017 the council considered an option to outsource the running of the café and launched a ‘soft market testing’ exercise asking for interested organisations, businesses or individuals to come forward with proposals, but no interest was shown at the time.
Our catering service continued to run the café despite dwindling visitor numbers and takings until it was forced to close due to the pandemic.
At a meeting earlier this month a decision was made to close the café permanently.
Cabinet Member for Education Councillor Alex Dale said:
“We have been considering the future of Café Browser for some time as customer numbers and takings were dwindling due to a growing number of similar outlets in the area.
“The café has been subsidised by the council over recent years as it has unfortunately not been viable for some time and has been running at a loss. While we realise some people will be sad to see the café close, we have a duty to make the best use of the money we have and ensure it goes towards providing vital council services.”
Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Strategic Leadership, Culture, Tourism and Climate Change Councillor Barry Lewis said:
“Although we did test the market back in 2017 to see if any business, organisation or individual was interested in setting up a café or similar in the space, no interest was shown. However, we’d be really happy to hear from anyone who thinks they could make use of the space for their own business idea, activity or group, and would be keen to discuss any proposals.
“We are definitely open to ideas about what could be done and if anyone would like to contact us we can consider their proposals. If no viable ideas are put forward we will consider with library service staff how best to use the space for visitors to Chesterfield Library in the future.”
Following the decision to close the café, any catering equipment will be removed from the space and re-used elsewhere by the council.
Any business or group which might want to run their own venture using the space must be self-funding and run it as a separate entity from the council as no financial assistance would be available.
To contact us about using the space at Chesterfield Library please email email@example.com. Ideas should be submitted by Friday 26 November 2021.