The cafe at the Gobbins Visitor Centre is to shut until further notice due to dwindling visitor numbers at the closed £7.5million Gobbins Cliff Path attraction.
The franchisee, who has owned the franchise since the visitor centre first opened in August 2015, said that the business had become “unsustainable” due to the indefinite closure of what was intended to be Mid and East Antrim’s flagship tourist attraction.
The council opened the Gobbins Cliff Path in August 2015, but closed it after five months when a landslip caused by heavy rainfall caused damage to parts of the access path.
The path reopened over the 2016 May Day weekend, but closed again on June 20 for essential maintenance to prevent rock falls.
Only the visitor’s centre and the viewing platform and access path, up to the entrance of the cliff path walk at Wise’s Eye, remain open.
In a post on social media, the cafe’s franchisee said that the decision to shut the business “had not been taken lightly” and that the cafe would close from Saturday February 4 “until further notice.”
Thanking the customers and staff who had supported them, they stated: “Unfortunately, due to the continued closure of the path visitor numbers are at a minimum and therefore the cafe is unsustainable,” a spokesperson stated.
“We will assess the situation over the next few months and liaise with Mid & East Antrim Council until there is a firm decision made on the path.”
In a statement released last September, Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Council Audrey Wales said that the attraction would not fully reopen to members of the public until 2017.
However, a reopening date has yet to be set by the council.
A council spokesperson stated: “Council’s catering franchisee has notified Council that the café will be closing only temporarily during off peak season from this weekend.”