Welland Park Cafe to re-open

Roy Shortland reopened the Welland Park cafe on Sunday, August 23.  (Picture by: Andrew Carpenter)
Roy Shortland reopened the Welland Park cafe on Sunday, August 23. (Picture by: Andrew Carpenter)

The cafe at the park in Market Harborough which has been closed for three months is to re-open today.

The Welland Park cafe, shut since the end of May, had a “soft opening” on Sunday, with an official opening planned for today (Monday).

The man behind the revamped cafe is chef Roy Shortland who lives in Market Harborough, just a short walk from the cafe.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to run my own cafe” said Roy “I read about the cafe shutting in the Harborough Mail and thought straight away it would be a good business”.

Roy worked for a major food producer in the area before setting up his own catering business. He also teaches at a local cookery school.

The 52-year-old, who has been a chef since the age of 16, says his CV includes a spell in a Michelin-starred restaurant, 12 years as a pastry chef and working with Market Harborough’s Great British Bake Off winner Frances Quinn.

“I’ve always wanted to do something for myself rather than other people, and this is my first solo venture,” Roy told the Mail.

“I think a cafe brings the finishing touch to the park. I want the cafe to complement the park and be part of the community.”

The cafe will initially be open from 10am to 4pm on weekdays and from 8.30am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday.

It will sell all sorts of hot and cold drinks, ice cream, breakfast and light lunches, including home-made cakes.

Roy also hopes to have regular live music at the cafe’s neighbouring bandstand.

The landmark cafe, which is owned by Harborough District Council, closed 12 weeks ago after being run for 18 years by a charity for people with learning difficulties.

It was run by the CARE Shangton village and its successors Self Unlimited and the Hft charity but Hft decided to close the cafe because it had been operating at a loss.

The site was put on the market by Harborough District Council, with rent advertised at £8,000 a year.

Cllr Phil King of Harborough District Council said: “This is an exciting new era for the café.

“The park is one of the jewels in the crown in this district and I am sure visitors to the park will enjoy the opportunity to stop off at the café for a drink and good food.”