'Beautiful' Merseyside bistro announces permanent closure

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Serving Italian and Mediterranean food, the Imaginarium Bistro has become a much-loved part of the community.

A popular, family-run restaurant has announced its permanent closure. Imaginarium Bistro, located in Prescot, opened in the town’s former market place five years ago, aiming to ‘bring people together through food, drink, events and good times’.

Serving Italian and Mediterranean food, while also hosting events at the Roundhouse located opposite the bistro in the piazza space, the Imaginarium had become a much-loved part of the Prescot community.

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Knowsley Council said in February that the Roundhouse had to be removed by the end of May as it was only ever supposed to be a temporary structure for hosting events. The Imaginarium Bistro has now announced it too will be closing down.

Sharing the news on social media, a spokesperson for Imaginarium Bistro & Roundhouse said: “It’s been a glorious five years, but external pressures have become too much and we have decided as a family that it is time to close our doors.

“We will be opening for the next four weeks on Saturdays and Sundays to bid farewell to loyal customers and friends. We hope you will come for one last meal or drink and wish us good luck for our next adventures. See you over the rainbow!”

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Locals quickly took to the comments to express their disappointment. One customer said: “I’m so very sorry to hear this. The town is losing a beautiful, imaginative, engaging asset. Whoever it is who isn’t fighting your corner and supporting your dream, must be mad. What on earth is to be gained by anyone by the loss of such a lovely place?”

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With another noting: “Really sad news. It will be a sad loss for Prescot to see you go.”

The news of the bistro’s closure comes after Knowsley Council ordered that the Imaginarium’s outdoor Roundhouse structure be removed. In a statement, a spokesperson for the council said: “When the Council agreed to appoint Imaginarium as the operators of the Bistro, this was based on a clear agreement that Imaginarium would deliver a free events programme for the benefit of the local community and visitors into the town. In return for arranging and delivering the events programme, Imaginarium do not pay any rent for the Bistro.

The Imaginarium Bistro and Roundhouse, Prescot. Image: Imaginarium Bistro & RoundhouseThe Imaginarium Bistro and Roundhouse, Prescot. Image: Imaginarium Bistro & Roundhouse
The Imaginarium Bistro and Roundhouse, Prescot. Image: Imaginarium Bistro & Roundhouse | Imaginarium Bistro & Roundhouse

“The Piazza space, where the Roundhouse is located, was created in order to host events and performances. When Imaginarium were appointed, they informed the Council that they wanted to purchase a structure (that is now known as the Roundhouse) in order to weatherproof the events programme. The Council agreed to that suggestion, and the Piazza was modified to accommodate it.

“However, the Roundhouse was always supposed to be a temporary structure which could be put up and taken down so that events could be held when the weather was challenging. It was always intended to be a facility to host events, and not an extension of the Bistro. Furthermore, it was never intended to be a permanent fixture and the Council never agreed to have a permanent fixture in that place.”

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In response, owner of the the Imaginarium, Gaynor La Rocca claimed that ‘the facts’ presented by the council were ‘not all correct’. Imaginarium Bistro & Roundhouse will close its doors for the final time on Saturday, May 18.

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