Ferry terminal may not have café for fifth summer in row

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James Morris, group commercial projects officer at Ports, said that the length of time it had taken to reopen the facility, which closed in 2013, was ‘an embarrassment’.

He admitted that despite talks being ongoing to find a new operator, it would be ‘ambitious’ to have it open by the start of the season. And he said he could not say for certain whether it would open at all during the summer.

Since the café closed in 2013, the only food and drink outlet available in the Elizabeth Terminal has been a kiosk run by restaurateur Marcus Calvani, who also planned to run a new-look café.

But talks over the café collapsed last year.

Casual Dining Limited, which runs catering operations at the Airport, have taken over the running of the kiosk and have expressed an interest in opening a café.

‘To be honest with you it has been an embarrassment how long it has taken,’ said Mr Morris.

‘Our first priority was to make sure that the kiosk remains open as we are now no longer dealing with Marcus Calvani. The people we use at the Airport, Casual Dining Limited, have taken over that.

‘But we are speaking to people now and going through a tender process for the café. A number of people have contacted me about taking it over and we have spoken to Casual Dining. Hopefully, we can have something agreed in three to four weeks.

‘Obviously we would like to get it open for the summer, but that would be ambitious. But we do need to be seen to be doing something.’

He added that on the positive side a lot of the groundwork for the project had been completed during Ports’ time working with Mr Calvani.

‘We have got a lot of the work done for the site already. But if you were to ask me to name a date for when it would be open, let’s say 1 June, I could not tell you,’ he said.

He added: ‘What we would like to see at the site is something in between a café and a restaurant.

‘It can actually be very difficult to get business down there when there isn’t a sailing. So what we would like is something which will attract customers who are not necessarily travelling.’

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