Abington Park café expansion plan given the go-ahead by Northampton councillors in time for its 40th anniversary

Tony Ansell (centre) celebrates Macmillan Coffee Morning with customers at Abington Park Cafe
Tony Ansell (centre) celebrates Macmillan Coffee Morning with customers at Abington Park Cafe

The café in Northampton’s Abington Park is to be expanded after plans received unanimous approval during a council meeting last night.

Owner of The Park Café, Tony Ansell, said he aims to have the extension finished in time for the café’s 40th anniversary later this year.

He said: “The park is open seven days a week all through the year and hosts all sorts of groups and events. To keep running it to the highest possible standard, we need to expand.

“At the moment, it is very congested behind the counter with staff always getting in each other’s way.”

The plans, which are being funded by the business, will include a new kitchen area, office and food store, providing more space for food preparation and serving.

However, during the borough council meeting last night at the Guildhall, concerns were raised that the expansion would require removing a healthy lime tree, even though it is located within the park’s conservation area.

But, during a meeting of Northampton Borough Council’s planning committee at the Guildhall last night, planning officers said that the public benefits of the expansion would “outweigh” the environmental damage and that the proposal had outlined plans for “several additional trees” to be planted.

Councillor Michael Ford (Lib Dem, Delapre & Briar Hill) added: “This expansion needs to be done because, with the demise of the tea room at Delapre Park, everyone will be going to Tony’s place in the summer.”

During the meeting, planning permission was also given to erect a six-metre flagpole along Park Avenue South to display the Green Flag Award, won by the park last year.