The Friends of Oldway volunteer group has made the difficult decision to step down from operating the Tearooms at Oldway Mansion.

The decision comes after the Tearooms were closed in early December 2023 on health and safety grounds. Since the closure we have been working on a solution to repair water ingress damage to the Tearooms that is in keeping with the historic building. We have also committed £1million to carry out a programme of essential repair work.

Over recent years the Friends of Oldway, through the Tearooms has done a tremendous job in bringing the community together, supporting many local groups and helping people of all ages and abilities.

We recognise that there is an extensive backlog of repairs required across the entirety of the site, including the Tearooms. We have been working on reviewing the condition of the building to determine what works are needed and the procurement process required to get contractors on site.

During the closure period, the Friends of Oldway took time to consider their future and resources, particularly regarding operation of the Tearooms. A change in circumstances from the manager has resulted in the Friends of Oldway committee concluding that they cannot continue without her at the helm.

We remain committed to restoring Oldway Mansion, with 2024 being a big year for the start of the restoration project. In addition to committing £1million to carry out a programme of repair work, we are:

  • Seeking financial support from government departments
  • Working with The National Lottery Heritage Fund to explore opportunities
  • Working to attract expressions of interest to collaborate on the future use of Oldway

Cllr Chris Lewis, Cabinet Member for Place Development and Economic Growth at Torbay Council, said; "We know that the community will feel the loss of the Tearooms at Oldway. I'd like to thank all the volunteers for their work, dedication and how they brought people of all ages together.

"We are committed to restoring Oldway Mansion. Lots of positive work is happening behind the scenes that will be made public in due course. Due to this work, at this time we will not be looking to attract another operator for the Tearooms.

"The grounds and gardens of Oldway remain open and accessible."

Kathy Hughes from the Friends of Oldway, said; "We would like to thank Torbay Council for their support since we formed a partnership with them in 2019. We'd also like to thank all our amazing customers and community groups for their regular visits, but most importantly we'd like to thank our volunteers for their time, the Tearooms couldn't have operated without you."

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