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Geoffrey Bowden group meeting with friends of the cafe - Reflective comment by Paul Levy

Paul Levy We had a chat with another "top level" (to quote him referring to himself) council Person, Geoffrey Bowden, who we spoke to at the cafe today. He told David that David HAD been consulted and mentioned the number six times. For all reading this, these meetings have taken place as a direct result of David's complaint that he had been in the complete dark up to that point. These meetings have in no way set David's mind to rest on the safe future for his cafe. Please, please - anyone reading this who is concerned, what we have is something sinister. Both elected councillors and officers (not all of course) are choosing their words very carefully. Mr Bowden said directly to us that nothing is going to be knocked down and that he is a fan of the building (witnessed). When pushed to make a clear statement that the present building will not be knocked down he wouldn't make that statement. He said discussions have been going on at "top level". I reminded him that, as owner of the cafe lease, David Sewell is also "top level" and hasn't been included in those top level discussions. He had no reply to that. The sinister bit is that there is no statement being put into writing that our 1930s cafe building is safe, because, at present it isn't. David may well be moved. Mr Bowden said that any decisions will be made WITH David and this was said in front of two Argus writers. So, I wonder rif this means that David will finally be invited to these TOP LEVEL conversations. Mr Bowden said that there was a "BIG PICTURE" and that 700 people had been spoken to. Well 700 people excluding the Sewell family and the community who regularly sit at the cafe. It's astounding to me that the Greens are involved in this. I pointed out to Mr Bowden that the Sewells and his family are in great stress about this whole thing. If there are no plans to remove him from his present business - the cafe and its patio - then they can set that stress to rest with a clear public statement. They haven't. No one has denied, when pressed, that they are looking at the possibility of moving the cafe elsewhere in the gardens. That would mean 1. knocking it down and 2. reducing the space for a patio (there's no where a patio like that could go in such a lovely position. This would frustrate the Sewell family business of over 70 years. David has made it clear he is open to discussing change. He isn't closed to how the gardens can be improved and that involves change for everyone. It's time now to involve David and the Friends in top level discussions that apparently have been taking place for months and have excluded the very people and community they are talking about!

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