ELLESMERE’S Boathouse Restaurant and Visitor Centre has been put out to tender by Shropshire Council.
Jointly-owned by Shropshire Council and Ellesmere Town Council, the Boathouse was extensively renovated and extended three years ago as part of a £1.6 million Heritage Lottery Fund-funded project to enhance Cremorne Gardens.
Shropshire Council has issued an invitation to tender for the provision of catering, retail and visitor information services at the Boathouse meaning that a single external operator will take on responsibility for running the restaurant, shop and visitor information centre on behalf of the council for nine years from next April.
Ann Hartley, Shropshire Councillor for Ellesmere, said: “The Boathouse was recently refurbished as part of a wider lottery-funded project and now offers a fantastic and popular restaurant, shop and visitor centre, which all play a vital role in attracting visitors to Ellesmere and Cremorne Gardens.
“The new operator will be expected to develop and grow the existing excellent services and facilities, recognise the key role that the Boathouse plays in the local community, and work closely with a range of partners to help promote Ellesmere to visitors.”
All current contracted staff will be offered the opportunity to continue to work at the Boathouse under the new operator which is due to be approved by Shropshire Council’s Cabinet in February.
The deadline for submitting a bid is December 17.
Ellesmere’s town mayor, Councillor Alan Clarke said: “The Boathouse is an integral part of Ellesmere’s project to attract visitors to our picturesque area.
“The recent enhancement of the mereside, Boathouse and Visitor Information Centre has improved what has always been a star attraction, and has become recognised for its excellent standard of service and facilities which is a pre-requisite to future tender provisions.”
The Boathouse currently incorporates a restaurant, shop, visitor centre including visitor information functions, an interactive exhibition and a wildlife/heronwatch feature staffed by volunteers.
It also includes a function room, public toilets, office space, WiFi, a terrace overlooking the mere and adjacent parking for 15 vehicles including three disabled spaces.