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'Disasters' blamed for delays to opening Oxford Town Hall's cafe
COUNCIL chiefs have admitted a “catalogue of disasters” has delayed the reopening of Oxford Town Hall’s cafe by six months.
The cafe was due to reopen in April after refurbishments, but will remain closed until October.
Speaking at a meeting of the council’s executive board, chief executive Peter Sloman admitted the delay was caused by contractual disputes between the council and contractors.
He said: “The cafe has been a catalogue of disasters.
“There have been three organisations involved with this, and there have been a number of contractual disputes between them.”
The delay has been criticised by opposition Lib Dem councillors.
Group leader Jean Fooks said: “It sounds tremendously incompetent, and it still hasn’t re-opened.”
Speaking after the meeting, city council leader Bob Price said the delay would not detract from the large-scale refurbishment of the museum and cafe.
He said: “It’s all part of the general refubishment which has focused on the museum. We are seeking to improve the museum offer and have a better cafe.
“As Peter said, for various reasons, work hasn’t been completed in the time it was supposed to be.
“It’s disappointing, but it’s just one of those things which can happen, and hopefully we will be able to recover from it soon.
City council spokesman Louisa Dean said: “We are looking forward to the cafe opening at the end of October and providing the community with a unique experience of the Town Hall by enjoying the Explore Oxford galleries, taking a tour of the building and then having refreshments in the café.
“It has been delayed for six months and the cafe income would have been approximately £6,000.
“We hope that the new facility will provide a different place for people to visit with locally sourced products and 100 per cent homemade dishes.”
The Museum of Oxford galleries opened to the public in June after more than £100,000 was spent converting former offices.
Funding included £43,600 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £48,628 from Wren, the organisation which distributes landfill tax credits to good causes.