Swale Tourism
4th April 2022

Expressions of Interest for Leisure and Catering Concession Notice 

Swale Borough Council is seeking expressions of interest (EOI) from organisations / parties to operate, occupy, manage, and maintain the leisure and catering concession at Barton’s Point Coastal Park, Marine Parade, Sheerness, Isle of Sheppey, Kent, ME12 2BX.

The site in total measures 31ha and currently consists of the Boat House Café, toilets, car parking, lake, play area, picnic area, camping area, former pitch and puttcourse, events field, model flying field (model aircraft community group), miniature gauge railway (model engineering community group) and large areas of open space. It sits on the edge of Sheerness, alongside Queenborough Lines which is the Napoleonic defence of Sheerness and a scheduled ancient monument. The site is over the road from the Shingle bank and a glorious stretch of open coastline. This area of coastline is popular with water sports and has launching facilities.

Swale Borough Council believe the site has the potential to be a big tourist and local resident destination with an all year round offering. The events field, operated by the Council, attracts fairgrounds and circuses on a regular basis and we believe this has further scope depending upon the proposals we receive.

The Council is seeking an experienced operator who can manage the various elements of the site which combine to make the overall concession as listed below under an appropriate agreement commencing from 1 October 2022.
• Boathouse (suitable for use as a café)
• Toilets/Showers
• Boating Lake
• Disused Pitch & Putt Course
• Camping Area (seasonal)
• Car Park

The old boathouse provides a good opportunity for a commercially focused provider to deliver a food & beverage provision for the coastal park. The internal part of the building will be cleared of all existing equipment and fittings ahead of occupation. Bidders are therefore advised to inspect the building and carefully consider the cost of providing catering equipment and any necessary works before submitting in their EOI. The Council would also entertain proposals for the replacement of this building and potential alternative uses.

The Council is currently undertaking two upgrade projects at the site. The existing drainage provision is via a cesspool. However, SBC are committed to providing mains drainage for both the café and the new shower & toilet block. The existing toilet block is nearing the end of life. The Council is preparing a project of replacement which we expect to see completed by Spring 2023. This will provide new toilets and a system of showers and ancillary facilities to benefit the lake and camping activities.

In addition to these two key buildings, the Council is keen for the site to attract more visitors to the area, all year round, but in particular during the summer season. Innovative ideas are therefore sought on what additional offering could be created on the other elements listed above.

The lake is available for dual use with the nearby Sea Cadet station. Water sports have historically been popular along with community events. Bids need to be sympathetic to the ecology of the site, with consideration for wildlife and the Queenborough Lines ancient monument status. A lake level survey is available for bidders should they wish. Bidders would need to satisfy themselves that the lake was suitable for their proposed activity.

There is an area of grass alongside the lake which is suitable for camping during the summer season. Bidders would need to make sure all planning requirements were met. Swale Borough Council would also entertain suggestions for the disused pitch and putt area which is located behind the existing toilet block.

As the site has multiple users, with other leased areas, it is important your EOI shows how you will balance and work alongside these. Groups include Model aircraft community group and model engineering community group. It is expected that the successful applicant will open the building to the public all year round and during that time will also open and maintain the adjacent, car park and public showers & toilets.

It is anticipated that the Council will continue to provide basic grounds maintenance services to the whole site. The playground and bridge also remain our responsibility. The operator will be responsible for general site maintenance such as litter generated from their operations/signage for their activities etc. There is potential opportunity for using the grass overflow car parks that run along the main road.

Please submit your EOI by 12pm on Sunday 15 May 2022 to jayjenkins@swale.gov.uk.

Please include the following information:
• Type of legal agreement preferred e.g. lease/licence/concession agreement and the length proposed.
• Annual rent being offered to SBC / Commercial offering e.g. profit share etc plus any considerations around phased payment against capital investment
• Basic Business Plan that demonstrates that the proposal is viable and sustainable for the duration of the legal agreement.
• Your Business Plan should include the following:
 Proposed use of the building including type of food & beverage to be offered
 Proposed opening dates and times
 Details of the water sports offering
 If intention to provide camping, then operation management plan
 Details of any other events or innovative activities proposed to increase visitor numbers or use of the wider park space
 Marketing proposals
 Financial projections demonstrating a strong viability, showing profit & loss forecasts and any surplus in addition to a cash-flow for at least 3 years,
 Details of how any repairs and improvements will be funded (e.g., grant funding, personal savings, temporary rent concession, etc).
 Evidence of previous experience/operations of a similar nature
Supporting Documents
• A site location plan

Should no viable business plan be submitted, the Council will consider alternative uses for the building.

Please email jayjenkins@swale.gov.uk for further information or to arrange to view the premises. It is proposed that the building will be made available to view internally from Tuesday 19 April 2022.