The Secret Garden Café in Cardiff: An Uncertain Future and Community Disappointment

…By Judah Olanisebee for TDPel Media. Uncertain Future for The Secret Garden Café: Closure Looms after Council Notice


The Secret Garden Café in Bute Park, Cardiff, known for its resilience during the pandemic and community support, faces an uncertain future as it has been asked to vacate its premises by the council.

Despite its significant contributions to the park and investments in the business, unsuccessful lease renewal negotiations have led to the notice to quit.

The café must find a new location by August 2, prompting concerns about the impact on the community and the café’s dedicated team.

Challenges Faced by The Secret Garden Café:

The Secret Garden Café has endured multiple challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, floods, and the rising cost of living.

Despite overcoming these obstacles, the café now faces closure due to the council’s decision.


Owner Melissa Boothman expressed her disappointment, highlighting the lack of recognition for the café’s positive impact and the council’s failure to consider their contributions.

Council’s Perspective and Future Plans:

Cardiff council explained that a lease renewal couldn’t be directly awarded as the café’s tenancy had expired, necessitating a new management agreement and lease.

The council stated that the café would have an opportunity to bid for the new lease during a procurement exercise starting in June.

While this process unfolds, an interim arrangement, known as a tenancy at will, allows the café to continue operations until August 2.

Community Support and Charitable Initiatives:

The Secret Garden Café has been actively involved in supporting the community and charitable causes.

In response to the park’s vandalism and arson attack, the café organized the Reclaim Bute Park event, raising funds for park restoration and tree planting.


Throughout the pandemic, they provided meals for the NHS and have raised nearly £18,000 for various charities over the past five years.

Melissa Boothman’s Dedication and Disappointment:

Melissa Boothman, the owner of The Secret Garden Café, expressed her deep disappointment and sadness at the notice to leave.

She emphasized the personal sacrifices made to establish and sustain the business and the emotional attachment she and her team have developed with the community.

The short notice period and uncertainty surrounding the future have created immense challenges, including managing accounts, staff notifications, and inventory clearance.

The Timelines and Procurement Process:

Cardiff council stated that the procurement process for the café’s management agreement and lease would commence on June 5.

The opportunity will be openly advertised, welcoming bids from both the current tenant and other operators interested in managing the site.


The council expects the process to last six weeks, with the new operator taking over in early August if the current tenant does not secure the lease.


As The Secret Garden Café faces the imminent closure of its current location, concerns arise about the impact on the community and the café’s dedicated team.

The café’s contributions to Bute Park and its charitable initiatives are apparent, making the council’s decision perplexing to many.

While the procurement process offers a glimmer of hope for the café’s future, the short notice period poses significant challenges for Melissa Boothman and her team in winding down operations and planning for an uncertain future.


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About the Author:

Judah Olanisebee is a talented writer and journalist based in Lagos, Nigeria. He is a valuable contributor to TDPel Media, where he creates compelling content that informs and engages readers. Judah is passionate about covering a wide range of topics, from current events and politics to technology and business. His writing style is characterized by its clarity, concision, and attention to detail, making his articles a pleasure to read. Judah’s commitment to providing accurate and timely information to his readers has earned him a reputation as a trusted source of news and analysis. When he’s not writing, Judah enjoys spending time with his family, reading books, and exploring the vibrant city of Lagos.

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