The Meadow Café opened on 26th July 2019. It was built next to the clock tower roundabout on the site of the changing rooms and public toilets which had been demolished circa 2002.
The café brought a much-wanted facility to the park. Adults could comfortably keep an eye on their children in the nearby playground and friends could meet over a drink or food. Public toilets were once again easily accessible in the heart of the park.
A design feature of the café, and a reason for its name, was its undulating green roof which was to reduce and attenuate water run-offs. It required careful detailing to maintain lightness so that the green roof did not appear too heavy. Two of the building’s elevations were glazed and large bi-folding doors were included. Plants for the roof were chosen to provide biodiversity while needing little maintenance.
The roof extended over an outside seating area on two sides with fixed tables for 40-50 people, making it possible to enjoy the facility on dull days, whilst inside there was seating for up to 30 people. There were internal and external self-service counters but, even so, busy days in summer sometimes brought long queues.
Before the Meadow Café opened, an ice cream van served the clock tower area, although park visitors could buy snacks from the Golf Hut which opened a refreshments counter in [date required] and from the Life Centre after 2012. Both places were about 200 metres away and rather too far for some people. Public toilets had been missing from this central hub for more than 20 years, except for a period between c2005 and c2014 when there was a coin-operated toilet cabin sited on the opposite side of the clock tower.