Car park to stem losses on shut bar

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - News - By BEN TRUSLOVE ben.truslove@pe­ter­bor­oughto­day.co.uk @Et­ben­truslove

PICTURE: DAVID LOWN­DES A WELL-KNOWN businessman says the fi­nan­cial squeeze has forced him to cre­ate a public car park in the grounds of an his­toric Peter­bor­ough res­tau­rant.

Ri­naldo Fa­sulo shut the iconic Ses­sions House bar and res­tau­rant, in Thorpe Road, ear­lier this year af­ter re­veal­ing plans to re­fur­bish the build­ing, which has a grade two listed frontage.

It clo­sure comes 10 years af­ter Mr Fa­sulo bought the 172-year-old build­ing, which served as a jail in the 19th cen­tury, a po­lice sta­tion and a mag­is­trates’ court.

Mr Fa­sulo, who also owns the cur­rently closed Broad­way theatre, in Peter­bor­ough, has said he plans to in­vest £250,000 to re­fur­bish the Ses­sions House.

But now he has re­vealed that de­lays to the sale of the for­mer Peter­bor­ough Dis­trict Hospi­tal site, which is nearby, will put back the re­open­ing of Ses­sions House.

To en­sure the site has some form of in­come he is us­ing the pri­vate car park as a public pay­ing car park.

Mo­torists are charged £5 for a stay of up to 12 hours. Prices for less than that start at 90p for an hour.

He said: “I’m just wait­ing to see what’s hap­pen­ing with the for­mer hospi­tal site.

“I am wait­ing to see what is built on the hospi­tal site and then I can de­cide on the type of ser­vice that Ses­sions House needs to pro­vide.

“I may need to change the menu and some­one might open up an­other res­tau­rant.

“I’m not mak­ing any money on the pay and dis­play car park. It will just go to­wards the main­te­nance of the build­ing.

“Ev­ery­body is strug­gling at the mo­ment. The Euro-zone fi­nan­cial cri­sis is re­ally hurt­ing ev­ery­one and mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for de­vel­op­ers to get money.”

Mr Fa­sulo bought Ses­sions House in 2002, adding to his res­tau­rant and night club em­pire in the city.

The clo­sure of Peter­bor­ough Dis­trict Hospi­tal at the end of 2010 badly hit tak­ings, re­duc­ing Ses­sions House prof­its by at least 30 per cent.

But Mr Fa­sulo re­mains con­fi­dent that the re­de­vel­op­ment of the 25 acre site will pro­vide a boost for the cof­fers and will be a po­ten­tial gold­mine.

Steve Bowyer, head of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, said it was dis­ap­point­ing Mr Fa­sulo had closed Ses­sions House but un­der­stood the decision be­hind it.

He added: “Whilst Peter­bor­ough is not im­mune from the eco­nomic down­turn we have been fairly re­silient and ac­tu­ally shown growth.

“If would be great if the Ses­sions House was open but you have to re­spect the decision. Mr Fa­sulo has to make a liv­ing. With any of the de­vel­op­ment sites com­ing for­ward it will be a mas­sive boost for ev­ery­one.”

Peter­bor­ough and Stam­ford Hos­pi­tals NHS Foun­da­tion Trust, which owns the old PDH, said it will have cho­sen a pre­ferred de­vel­oper by the end of June.

park­ing: Ri­naldo Fa­sulo has opened Ses­sions House as a car park while the venue is closed.

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