Feature: Why Pump Rooms café in Leamington closed and update on the Glasshouse in Jephson Gardens

The owner of the company which recently backed down from managing the café at one of Leamington's iconic landmarks has said this will now allow for a greater focus on the other prominent venue it runs in the town.

Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 12:05 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 12:11 pm

In a candid statement, he said: "As a small family owned business we have tried to promote The Royal Pump Rooms for events like gala dinners, Christmas parties, conferences and weddings for the last eight months and whilst we have had some success the reality is that nearly everyone we have met who wants to use this space regards it as a community space with most of them wanting to use it for things like dance lessons, yoga, classical music concerts, a local market or even an art gallery.

"These are not events that we were able to support as much as we would have liked as they had budget limitations that didn't cover all of our costs.

The caf at the Royal Pump Rooms in Leamington

"When we became involved with the project we were contracted to do deliver 20 per cent (supported) community events but this has quickly become more like 80 per cent as we were committed to trying to open the doors."

He said: "We met with the council and CDP a couple of months ago and explained the challenges that we were having and suggested that the council takes the venue back under its wing so that the types of enquiries we have been having may experience a better chance of being accommodated.

"We are very likely to be called back to The Royal Pump Rooms to support with larger catered events in the future so our relationship is certainly not over with this fabulous building.

The Glasshouse at Jephson Gardens

"I know that many people will think that we are just out for the money but we genuinely would have run into difficulties had we not reacted so quickly.

"Both the council and CDP have been very understanding of this situation which is now back on track thankfully due to the hard work of our amazing team."

Despite the café having closed and the Pump Rooms not currently having a company to manage the venue, Mr Holland says it can still have a bright future.

He said: "I am sure that not everyone will agree with me but,as a person who was born in Leamington, I feel it is positive that after several different companies, including us, who have had the lease for The Royal Pump Rooms who have, in the main, all failed to make a real go of it as a business that the doors may at least now be open to the people who want to use the site for the community.

"The café is a great small business for an even smaller owner/operator.

"Our core business is events and without the events of the Assembly Rooms or conservatory coming off and supporting the café it does not work for us as it uses up all of our resources.

"It is on this basis that we reluctantly also suggested that the café should be remarketed to an owner/operator who could make a real go of it and thankfully we have seen many interested parties coming through the doors to view the space over the last ten days since it was closed temporarily."

"It is important to say that working with CDP and the council has been a great experience, an experience that we hope continues into the future.

The council is currently seeking a new operator for the café

A council spokeswoman said: “Warwick District Council is currently seeking new tenants for the Royal Pump Rooms café.

“Expressions of interest will be submitted by the end of November and a new tenant selected in December with the aim of re-opening as soon as possible.”

“Expressions of interest will be submitted by the end of November and a new tenant selected in December with the aim of re-opening as soon as possible.”

Just Inspire is continuing to run the Glasshouse and Mr Holland said the venue will be very busy over December and has several events booked for next year.

He said: "We are excited to finally feel like this is now taking off in the right direction.

"I am totally aware that many people would like to see the Glasshouse open as a restaurant again but the trials that we have done through the year to attempt this have not been successful as the venue is known as an events space.

"That is not to say we will not try similar things again in the future.

"Now that we have our main focus on the Glasshouse I am looking forward to a great 2020."