Owner of popular Derbyshire park cafe told she must leave kiosk she has run for three years

Barefeet in the Park
Barefeet in the Park

An Ilkeston businesswoman says she was left devastated  after Erewash Borough Council told her she must leave the kiosk cafe she has run for three years.

Gemma Worthington has worked hard to make a success of the Barefeet in the Park cafe in Victoria Park.

The Barefeet in the Park team.

The Barefeet in the Park team.

The authority informed her via email that she must leave the kiosk as her three year lease has come to an end.

Erewash Borough Council says it has no intention to permanently close the popular refreshment kiosk.

The council will be meeting with Gemma this week to talk with her.

Gemma said: “We will be closing our doors for good.

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“We are absolutely devastated. Barefeet in the Park has been my pride and joy for three lovely years, and the whole team have put our hearts into our lovely kiosk.

“Erewash Borough Council has told us we must leave with no explanation given.

Gemma has run the cafe with her family and friends for three years and knew that her lease was due to expire.

She explained: “They emailed me last year to say they would contact me in June to reach a mutually agreeable way forward, discuss the costs of the building and how the cafe was performing and what my wishes were.

But they never got back to me until they informed me that they did not wish to renew the lease.

“This has been a tough and upsetting week for us all.

“It’s not always been profitable but I have done it for the love of it.

“I have been coming to the park since I was a toddler with my grandma.

“It is a family and friend run business with many memories made for all the staff and their children.

“We have had the pleasure of meeting hundreds of customers many we now call friends.

“We will be open all weekend (weather depending) and close next Sunday (September 29).

Ian Sankey, Erewash Borough Council’s Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Resources said; “The council has no intention of closing the refreshment kiosk at Victoria Park in Ilkeston and will be talking to the current lease holder to hopefully resolve a number of matters.

“The kiosk will close soon as it does every winter but we can reassure people that it will be open again next year.”

A petition has been set up in support of Barefeet in the Park at GoPetition.com. Visit the cafe’s Facebook page for more information.