Mid Wales

Llandrindod Wells restaurant protest amid fears about its future

More than 100 people have joined hands around a council-owned restaurant in Powys amid fears about its future.

Campaigners said Lakeside Restaurant in Llandrindod Wells was popular with local people and tourists.

But Powys Council claims it is running at a loss of nearly £1,000 a week and it had failed to find a new operator.

The building will close in September so it can be renovated before attempts are made to lease it. Staff will be redeployed.

The council has previously tried to sell the public restaurant off without success, and campaigners fear that when it closes in four months' time it will not reopen.

Protesters presented a letter to Powys council's new leader David Jones on Friday, and urged him to save the restaurant.

But Mr Jones said the council should not be running a restaurant.

One of the campaigners Patsy Godfrey said: "Thousands of signatures have been handed in to the council protesting the closure of this invaluable amenity, not only heavily used by the local population, but is a major reason why visitors come to the town, bringing with them their spending power.

"This is vitally important to our county town which is already suffering from a weakening economy. The lake and its restaurant is the main attraction in the town."

Powys council's cabinet agreed in March to refurbish the restaurant before attempts are made to attract a private operator.

Image caption Protesters presented council leader David Jones with a letter

A council spokesperson said: "Despite strenuous efforts over a protracted period of time we were unsuccessful in efforts to find a new operator for the Lakeside and had to re-consider the long term future of the operation.

"The current operation has been running at a loss for sometime costing the county council approximately £1,000 a week, a position that is not financially sustainable.

"Regrettably, the only viable option is to close the restaurant at the end of the tourist season and carry out major improvement work at the site before embarking on a new tendering exercise.

"Existing staff will be redeployed where possible, with all of them given an opportunity to opt for voluntary severance if they so wish. Everything will be done to avoid compulsory job losses."