Boating may return to lake at Buxton's Pavilion Gardens under private company

The bandstand at Buxton's Pavilion Gardens.
The bandstand at Buxton's Pavilion Gardens.

Boating could return to the lake at Buxton’s Pavilion Gardens if the attraction is transferred from council control to a private company.

In June, the Buxton Advertiser reported that High Peak Borough Council (HPBC) had launched a tendering process to find ‘suitable operators’ to provide hospitality, catering and events services at the Pavilion Gardens.

READ MORE: Buxton's Pavilion Gardens could change 'beyond recognition', council chief fears

It has now been revealed that HPBC has selected Parkside Leisure as the preferred bidder.

Councillor Tony Kemp, HPBC’s executive councillor for tourism and regeneration, said this week: “I can confirm that after carrying out a lengthy consultation and tendering process for the potential operation of services at the Pavilion Gardens, the council has been able to identify Parkside as the preferred bidder to commence from January, 2019.

“Parkside have a wide range of similar operations across the country in partnership with local authorities, also including many leisure service operations.

“They have made a number of exciting proposals which include the possible return of boating to the lake and would certainly be looking to extend opening hours, thus reversing the reductions in hours forced on us by the need to make cost savings.

“They have also indicated that they would be keen to work with local community groups and to continue the trend toward providing dementia-friendly access that we have worked hard to introduce.

“And the High Peak Artists will be welcome to remain as part of the valued core offer.

“While there remain a few final details to be finalised within the complex bid process, I am confident that we will be making an official announcement of the award of contract very shortly.”

Conservative-run HPBC insists the planned move would help to safeguard the historic Pavilion Gardens, protect jobs and save taxpayers’ money – but Labour fears it has the ‘potential to significantly change an iconic part of Buxton beyond recognition’.

If the deal is confirmed as expected, the gardens themselves would remain under the control of HPBC while the management of commercial activities would be privatised and existing staff transferred.

For more information about Parkside Leisure, visit www.parkwoodleisure.co.uk