Cafe Development

With planning permission granted for the new cafe, the expectation was that building work would commence in December 020…… then came Covid 19. As a result everything is on hold until the future become clearer. We will keep everyone posted as things move slowly forward.

Planning permission for a new cafe as given by the DMBC Planning Committee on Tuesday 4th February 2020.

You can watch the full planning meeting here.

Sandall Park Cafe has existed on the current site since 1956. Prior to that date the small cottage on the same site was used to supply anglers and  visitors with cigarettes and cups of tea.

Sadly the current position is that Doncaster Council has no development plans for Sandall Park. The council have no vision as to what the park should be like in 10/20/30 years time.  

The cafe situation is even worse. It is not fit for purpose and the council cannot afford to bring it up to standard. When it can no longer be used it will be closed, along with the existing volunteer run Public toilets.

This would signal the final demise of Doncaster’s most popular park.
When the cafe closes this is likely to be the sequence of events:

  • Cafe closes
    current toilets immediately close;
  • parkrun ceases due to lack of facilities
  • There will be no community events such as egg hunt/galas.
  • Friends of Sandall park will not operate in the park
  • A return to high crime, no investment;
  • The park would be ripe for other uses that the council would not be able to resist.
  • Sandall park will not exist as a park in 30 years time.

Hence the reason this new cafe development is so important.


Original cottage on the site of the current cafe.

Plans are currently at an advanced stage to have the current cafe, which is in a serious state of disrepair, replaced by a new cafe on the same site.

The Friends of Sandall Park (FoSP) fully support this development. Without it there is a likelyhood that  the park would be left without a cafe and even public toilets.

If FoSP had been around in the early 1990’s we would have looked at every possibility to keep the facilities in the park ‘alive and kicking’ – including the boats on the lake. Who knows what could have been achieved?

Here we are in 2019 with a possibility that the remaining park facilities could be lost forever. We are determined that will not happen. We, the voluntary sector, will work with both the private and public sectors to ensure that Sandall Park continues its road to recovery.

CLICK HERE: To view the full planning application on the DMBC wensite.

Cafe (600 x 450)




Q: Why knock down the old cafe?
A: The current cafe is at the end of its ‘natural lifespan’. It needs constant repair and will soon not be ‘fit for purpose’.

Q:  Has part of the park been sold for this development?
A: No. The whole of the footprint of the park is and still will be owned by Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council (DMBC);

Q: Is this just a new cafe then?
A: Not at all. The development will see new park toilets within the cafe building. There will be a new car park where the derelict council depot is on Barnby Dun Road and the current toilet block will be converted into a ‘Changing Place’ for our diabled visitors  plus storage facilities for the Friends of Sandall Park (FoSP) and the council. This will assist FoSP with the running of events and the general upkeep of the park.

Q: When will these things be completed?
A:  Planning permission was granted on February 4th 2020 but there are several conditions that have to be met before building can commence. We expect building to commence this year (in 2020)


Architects Impression only.

Q: What about the toilets?
A: The new park toilets will be within the main cafe building and accessible to the general public. These will be in addition to the toilets for the cafe patrons.

Q: Will the toilets be free?
A: Yes

Q: What about the car parking – will that be free?
A: Yes

Q: What will happen to the old toilet block?
A: As stated above it will be converted into a Changing Place facility a well a storage facility for both FoSP and DMBC. It will also mean that a boat can be kept on site for the angling club to carry out maintenance on the lake. It is hoped that the fabric of the building will be adapted to compliment the new build cafe.

Q: Is the tax payer or council paying for all this?
A: No – not a penny!

Q: So who is paying for this?
A: It is external funding from the private investor.

Q: So part of the park is being sold off?
A: No, the council will still own the land and the new building but will  be leased back. The council will still be in control of the buildings use.

Q: Isn’t there enough licensed premises in Doncaster already?
A: The current cafe is already fully licensed but the leaseholders choose not to use it. The same leaseholders will run the new cafe.

Architects impression – view from the road.



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