Triple development for major Coventry’s War Memorial Park

No Ordinary Hospitality Management bistro

Two cafes in Coventry’s War Memorial Park are to be transformed – and a new ice-cream outlet created – as part of a £300,000 investment.

City-based No Ordinary Hospitality Management (NOHM) has taken over the management of the two existing cafés and is undertaking a total refurbishment programme before re-opening in early summer ahead of BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend 2022.

As part of the new deal, the company, which manages a host of venues and attractions across the area, is to create a new ice cream kiosk in the centre of park, repurposing a current storage unit.

Under the plans, the café adjacent to Kenilworth Road will be turned into a bistro operating from 9am, through to early evening with the food offer moving from hot drinks and pastries through to light lunches, afternoon tea and then suppers.

The current cafe in the visitor centre will become The Sundae Club, a 50s-inspired dessert diner. NOHM opened the first Sundae Club at Coombe Abbey Park, as part of its development of the site just outside the city which has proved highly successful.

Several staff have joined the company from the former operators, but it is expected the investment will see the creation of between 20 and 25 part-time posts once all three venues are operating.

Ron Terry of NOHM, said the plans would “significantly widen” the food and drink offer available to park users.

“The War Memorial Park is a wonderful place for local people and visitors and is a hive of activity throughout the year.

“People visit for a huge variety of reasons – sport, recreation, exercise, family time, dog walking, meeting up with friends – we want food and drink available to them to reflect that diversity and we have devised an offer that will have a very broad appeal.

“We are very aware that the park is a much-loved resource, so while we want to improve the quality and choice available to everyone and to help attract more people to visit, we will do it in a way which benefits the area and its users, whilst respecting its history.

“The Sundae Club at Coombe Abbey Park opened just before Christmas and has been really well received by everyone who has visited and has some very positive reviews, and we believe it is a concept which fits the visitor centre in the park perfectly.

“We have met with the Friends of the War Memorial Park and talked through our plans, and we will continue to liaise with them while we undertake the work, and then going forward.”

The 12-acre War Memorial Park was opened in July 1921 as a tribute to the 2,587 Coventrians who died between 1914 and 1918 fighting in the First World War.

Facilities include 10 floodlit tennis courts, 12 football pitches, flat green bowling, an 18-hole FootGolf course, a cricket pitch, and skate park.

No Ordinary Hospitality runs Coombe Abbey Hotel – a 12th century former Cistercian Abbey just outside Coventry – and commercial outlets in Coombe Abbey Park.

It has also taken on the management of six restored historic buildings for Historic Coventry Trust and also the management and promotion of the Grade 1 listed St Mary’s Guildhall, after a £5.6 million renovation to establish it as a leading heritage visitor attraction and events venue which can host weddings, business functions, events and more.