Man-down: Dunwood Park café due to close after opening hours row

A NEW tenant is being sought to take over Café Mandels in Dunwood Park after Amanda Wright’s decision not to renew her lease with Oldham Council.

Amanda wanted to re-negotiate the opening times and close the community building from September through to Easter (April) 2019.

Amanda outside Cafe Mandels

Shaw and Crompton’s six OMBC ward councillors have called that length of time “unacceptable.”

They say they are committed to putting the lease out to re- tender ‘quickly”.

However, Amanda, who opened for business at Easter 2016, remains unhappy.

She maintains she spent nearly nine months from September 2017 trying to re-negotiate the terms of the lease with OMBC before finally tendering her resignation at the end of May 2018.

OMBC have confirmed the matter was only first put to councillors at a briefing on June 5, 2018.

“I couldn’t go on like we had been doing.” Amanda, who worked at Café Mandels with Andrea Booth, told the Correspondent.

“The café just doesn’t make any money during the winter months. I was happy to show them my books.

“I just couldn’t afford to pay a member of staff to be there for one or two customers coming in for a cup of coffee.

“But I am not an unreasonable person and I was willing to negotiate.

“If from late October to February half-term there were any events on and people wanted to use the building, I would have been more than happy to support that.

“But how long did they want me to wait for them to make a decision?

“I do hope that a new tenant will come along and take over so that Dunwood Park/Shaw community still have a café.

“We have really enjoyed being part of and contributing towards our local community and it’s with great sadness that we say goodbye.

“In the meantime we will still continue to run or support upcoming community sessions until August so please continue to support us until then.”

In response to Amanda’s claims Shaw and Crompton’s OMBC ward councillors issued a joint statement.

They said: “Councillors were consulted about a reduction in opening hours to assist the business at Café Mandels, this was agreed.

“Subsequently we have been asked for our views on a request from the tenant of Café Mandels to close down between the 31st August and Easter, a period of eight months.

“All the Shaw and Crompton Councillors were of a view that this was unacceptable.

“However, we understand that the tenant decided to terminate her lease prior to this decision being communicated to her.

“Café Mandels is a well-used community facility in Dunwood Park and when the building was renovated and subsequently let out it was the intention that this community facility was not a seasonal one but available throughout the year.

”Shaw and Crompton Councillors have supported this facility from its inception and will continue to do so.

“It is regrettable the current tenant has decided to pull out of Café Mandels but her desire to close for eight months out of 12 is unacceptable to both councillors and users of the park alike.”

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