We are the Vaults and Garden and we need your support!
Help us save the cafe we love.
First of all, I would like to express my gratitude and thanks to everyone who has supported the petition. It has helped me move forward optimistically at a time of great uncertainty and doubt.
I would like to clarify the position of myself and our company, the operator of the Vaults and Garden Cafe. The University church issued a press release to the Oxford Mail on the 24th of August announcing their development plans and that the cafe would be closing in a few months. This initiative brought a long-standing dispute between myself and the Vicar into the public domain and which has resulted in the change.org petition.
The terms of the three month notice to quit given to us in May 2023 are unfair and do not reflect the twenty years we have spent building up a substantial and thriving business employing 70 staff, nor the amount of capital investment we have made into the business.
The Church intends to close us down before it has applied for planning permission and listed building consent and before the required public consultation has taken place which will all take a considerable amount of time. It is possible that the necessary permissions may be refused.
To close the cafe now for well over 18 months will effectively destroy the business, and lose its staff and its customer base from which the Church receives more than £100,000 of income without any administrative costs. This action represents unacceptable financial risk for a charity which is obliged not to take such risk.
The press release states there has been “a period of extended negotiations” with an option to continue.” This is a misrepresentation of the facts as there has only been notices to quit with options to give up vacant possession. However we have always been and remain willing to engage the church in negotiating a mutually beneficial solution to the dispute.
We hope to remain in occupation and would be delighted to work with the Church to achieve their stated social and ethical aspirations. We have twenty years experience of operating as an ethical business with a foundation of environmental and socially positive actions.
We hope to build on the common ground that respects each parties’ positions and we hope that the current wider public audience will encourage transparency and support this process
To conclude, I remain willing and open to meet with the Vicar , Canon William Lamb and the Church council and together find a path that honours our respective needs and obligations.