Earlham Park Cafe owners positive about future involvement with big park gigs including Little Mix

A small business owner is optimistic about being included in future big events at a popular Norwich park.

Earlham Park Café was not within the arena for Let’s Rock Norwich! 1980s music festival which entertained 15,000 people from across the country on Saturday.

Co-owner Ingrid Henry - who has run the year-round café with husband Hakan Torunogullari for 10 years - could not afford the payment being requested by Central Catering which would allow the business to trade inside the festival site.

Central Catering was brought in by UK Live which organised Let’s Rock Norwich!

Mrs Henry claimed the café lost out on busy weekend trade - despite UK Live putting up signs to the business which stayed open on Saturday and Sunday.

She said a Norwich City Council representative told her after the gig that the authority was unaware of the Let’s Rock Norwich! trading situation and would support the business to get involved with future live gigs at Earlham Park.

Mrs Henry said: “I could see Let’s Rock Norwich! was a great success and I’m pleased. I just wish we could have been more involved. We want to work with the council.”

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She felt “very positive” about being able to trade within future live events on the park including Little Mix this September.

Steve Haywood, UK Live marketing manager, said the company worked with local authorities for major events “every step of the way” and a standard charge was offered to the café.

The EDP contacted Central Catering but it is yet to receive a comment from the firm.

The council manages the park, café and toilets, used by the public and café customers, which Mrs Henry said needed improving.

There are currently about five cubicles for men and women and one disabled toilet, but there are no baby changing facilities.

Mrs Henry was happy to fundraise for toilet refurbishment through community events, including a vintage fair, and said the council representative also supported the idea.

“I’m very hopeful about the toilet situation,” she added.

Mrs Henry said the council maintained the toilets well but the block has “had its day”.

A spokesman for Norwich City Council said: “There seems to have been a misunderstanding between the organisers of the event and the café trader about arrangements during Let’s Rock Norwich.

“We’re more than happy to be part of the conversation about the café trading at future events to try and make sure everyone is clear with what has been agreed and arranged.

“Regarding any plans to raise money which could help to pay for improvements at Earlham Park – this is something we’re also happy to be involved with and provide some guidance on.”

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