Groundwork South Statement in relation to the Bale House Visitor Centre Hastings

As per our statement on the Bale House Visitor Centre Facebook page, regrettably we had to close the café part of the Visitor Centre over the Easter weekend – we appreciate this was unfortunate timing making it a very difficult decision for us to take.

On Thursday 28th March we discovered that the company Groundwork South had engaged to run the cafe concession, The Grumpy Cook Ltd, had been dissolved in November 2023. At a meeting with the former director of The Grumpy Cook Ltd on the 28th, it was suggested that their new company ‘Table 88 CIC’ could continue to run the café over the Easter period, under the proviso that Table 88 CIC could provide evidence of adequate insurance cover. Unfortunately, the insurance documents provided by Table 88 were unverifiable, and as a result Groundwork South had no choice but to inform them they could not operate the cafe over Easter. This instruction to not operate was initially ignored and further Groundwork intervention was necessary.

Subsequently, the insurance company named by Table 88 have confirmed that the decision of Groundwork South to not allow Table 88 CIC to trade was correct. Groundwork South made requests to meet with Table 88 after the Bank Holiday weekend to discuss this further. These were not responded to.

In light of these events, Groundwork South has regrettably informed Table 88 that it cannot continue to operate the cafe at The Bale House.

We do apologise to anyone whose plans had to change as a result of the closure. As we’ve highlighted, The Bale House visitor centre remains open, and we have a temporary plan in place to provide free light refreshments whilst we look to reinstate an alternative café provision as quickly as possible. We’d like to thank our staff and volunteers for continuing to offer a warm and welcoming spaces, and also to thank our visitors for your ongoing support.