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London Wildlife Trust defends ending Lizzy’s Coal House cafe contract at Wetlands centre

PUBLISHED: 15:19 19 April 2017 | UPDATED: 15:19 19 April 2017

The cafe at Woodberry Wetlands. Photo: Penny Dixie

The cafe at Woodberry Wetlands. Photo: Penny Dixie

©Penny Dixie 2016

The London Wildlife Trust (LWT) has defended its decision to take Woodberry Wetlands’ cafe back in-house – to the disappointment of customers, who love it the way it is.

The cafe at Woodberry Wetlands. Photo: Penny DixieThe cafe at Woodberry Wetlands. Photo: Penny Dixie

The Gazette has been contacted by customers of Lizzy’s at The Coal House, who are disappointed the community café will cease trading on Sunday “with almost no notice”.

One, Simon Moore, said: “All us local residents are in total shock. It’s a runaway success and a lovely place that draws people in to enjoy the wildlife,” he said.

But the LWT – which opened the nature reserve in Woodberry Down last year with wildlife guru David Attenborough as the guest of honour – has decided to activate the one-year break clause in the three-year lease it signed last year.

Ian Tokelove said negotiations had been going on since October: “We decided to bring it in-house because we could ensure more of the income went to make the nature reserve run. It costs £100,000 a year and has to stand on its own two feet,

“Barclay Homes contributed to the broadwalk, which is built, and the opening event with marquee costs, but that was it.

“We have a little bit of money coming in from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which is helping us keep our feet on the ground but after that we are independent, so we need to maximise our income and ensure we can keep Woodberry Wetlands open and free to access.”

Cafe owner Lizzy Bassham, who has another branch in Newington Green, posted on Facebook: “From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for all your love and support. My team – you are a wonder. Your hard work and commitment has inspired me more than you’ll ever know. What a year!”

The cafe will be closed for refurbishment on April 26 and will reopen on April 29.

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