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Stepneys Cafe in Maidenbower to close as operations are passed to community club



Crawley Borough Council has put out a statement explaining why one of the most popular private ventures in Maidenbower is to hand over the running of the café to the community club.

Following an outcry from residents and customers of Stepneys, which came after the current owner posted on Facebook news that they were to operate the café no more, the council were obligated to put out their own statement.

It reads:

“Since Maidenbower Pavilion opened in 2012 the intention has always been for the building to be a community hub, run by local residents. At the time the pavilion opened, The Maidenbower Park Community Club (MPCC) did not have the capacity to take on the operation of both the café and the social club. To ensure there was café provision for the opening, the Council invited local businesses to bid to operate the café, on a fixed-term lease. Stepneys were successful in their bid and operated the lease which has now expired. The council would like to thank Stepneys for the services they have provided and wish them every success with any future ventures.

“MPCC has worked hard to grow and develop their capacity as an organisation and as a result can take the next step towards achieving a fully community-managed facility, and the operation of the café is key to this. The café will be open for everyone and there will not be a requirement for customers to be a member of MPCC. This is an exciting opportunity and we look forward to working with MPCC to see this happen.”

Yesterday, (15th Jan) the current manager Andre posted on the community facebook page saying,

“It is with regret that Stepney’ will be closing its doors for the last time in the first week of February.
The council have made the decision to terminate my lease and hand the whole running of the Pavilion over to the social club.”

Within minutes scores of upset and angry customers and residents were voicing their alarm with comments.

One resident, Sam, contacted Crawley News 24 saying:

“Having lived in Maidenbower for over 10 years and having a young family, I use the cafe quite regularly, be it for ice creams/ drinks in the summer, breakfasts and tasty panninis all for such a reasonable price. 
I find it very unfair that someones business and livelihood can be snatched away. It’s always seemed so popular and busy whenever I’ve been in there.”
Another resident who asked to remain anonymous said:
“This is just another example of the council not allowing small businesses to thrive. Yes the lease may have run out but has no-one ever heard of a “review”?”
Now more questions are being asked as to why residents and members of the community were not consulted as to whether this was the right decision to make.
MP for Crawley Henry Smith said:
“This is a Crawley Borough Council decision and I call on the Town Hall Leader to explain this decision to the community in Maidenbower.”
A petition has been launched by residents wanting Stepneys to remain.  It can be viewed here:’s-cafe/
A spokesperson from Stepneys declined to offer comment at this time.
More to follow…

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  1. Angela Miller

    16th January 2018 at 2:51 pm

    Why can’t the lease for the cafe be extended?

  2. Lincoln

    17th January 2018 at 11:09 am

    It won’t be extended because certain council members are friends with the club owners next door. It is another classic case of feathering ones nest. It will be rembered when these elected officials need to be voted in again. We won’t forget!

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