WORK began yesterday on turning a popular park cafe into a Costa Coffee, with the owners of the new £200,000 venture hopeful they can be open in time for Easter.
Coffee Snobs has completed a deal to take over the lease on The Cafe in the Park, which has occupied the shelter-style building since it was built by Wycombe District Council in 2008.
The Ruislip-based company, which owns 12 other franchises in the area, is already well-known to Marlovians through its successful Costa on West Street.
And owner Paul Messenger said he and his team are excited about getting more involved in the Marlow community as they prepare to open up in the high-profile location.
He said: “We have now completed on the lease and it’s very exciting for us. We’ve never taken on anywhere like this before, it’s a bit different.
“We love being in Marlow, we have lots of regular, loyal customers. We have already been well accepted into the Marlow community and we hope this will also be well received.
“We are investing in the property and providing better facilities for the people that use it and we believe it will be worthwhile for the users of Higginson Park.”
Mr Messenger hopes that by being based in the park, the company can play a big role in community events such as the Marlow Carnival and the Santa Fun Run.
Coffee Snobs took over the lease from Cafe in the Park, whose owner Carly Trisk-Grove admitted to the BFP that the building was not fit for purpose, making it difficult to turn a large profit.
She said the gaps in the ceiling and windows from its shelter design made heating the building almost impossible and that high rents meant only a larger chain could make it a success.
A planning application is currently ongoing for external changes to the cafe and the installation of air conditioning units on the side of the building.
Agreed works on the internal refit, not covered by the application to WDC, have already begun and will cost around £200,000.
Works will include a new, sealed shopfront with double glazed windows.
The plans have drawn complaints from residents, who claim the park’s picturesque views will be ruined if advertising is allowed.
But Mr Messenger claims most of the advertising will be internal and permitted under deemed consent rules.
Five jobs are likely to be created by the new cafe, which will staff between both its Marlow stores to react to the seasonal nature of the business.
Mr Messenger is hopeful that the cafe will be open for the Easter school holidays, with the opening date currently set for April 5.