Improvements to a popular Corby country park cafe will include bifold doors, a new ‘snug’ area with its own inglenook fireplace and new outdoor flooring.
Corby Council has submitted blueprints for more than £145,000 of improvements to the 18th century stable-block which houses its cafe.
The authority is spending £5m on upgrading its facilities across the town ahead of a new unitary authority taking over the borough in 2021.
East Carlton Park is considered the jewel in the crown of Corby’s leisure offer but has had no serious money spent on it since the 1990s.
Now, a programme of improvements will take place to include: the replacement of the arched carriage windows with bi-fold doors to open up the main cafe area, converting two other windows into doorways to improve access and flow in and out of the building, replacing outdoor cobbles with a smooth resin surface and relocating the serving area.
There will also be a new snug with an existing inglenook fireplace revamped with the addition of a log-burning stove.
The external ice cream kiosk will also be relocated closer to the building.
In a heritage statement submitted as part of a planning application to its own development control department, the council says: “The stable block.. houses a number of small independent business units and a thriving café which is managed by the council.
“Due to a successful and thriving café, the current layout is not fit for purpose and could be greatly improved if the above proposals are approved.”
The grade II-listed block was built in 1768 for the Palmer family of East Carlton Hall and was later owned by British Steel.
The 100-acre public park welcomes 400,000 visitors each year.
The heritage statement continues: “To the front of the building is a hard standing area made up of cobbles, bricks and stone paving slabs.
“It is uneven and broken slabs are in danger of causing trip hazards.
“This hard standing area was created in the 1980’s by Corby Borough Council to create a more attractive frontage from the rough concrete.
“Due to its poor condition it is proposed that the cobbles are removed and whole area overlayed with a Maple Glow resin bound surface - extending from the existing well through to the toilet block, creating a uniform look.”
The existing entrance will be closed and two new entrances built in place of existing windows.
The statement continues: “The café area is extremely busy in the summer months/holidays and the current front entrance creates a bottle neck for queuing customers.
“Corby Borough Council receive numerous complaints regarding serving time and the works proposed to the frontage of the building, including the bi folding doors and the additional two doors, will create a much improved flow for customers moving around the ground floor of the building.
“The staff currently have no ventilation from the heat in the summer months and the proposed bi-folding doors and roof lights will provide a much more comfortable environment to work within and avoid the need for a more technological solution such as air conditioning.”