The Bluebird Pub in Tilgate Park is set to reopen as an American-style family restaurant after Smith & Western signed a lease to take over the building.
Smith & Western’s Tilgate Park restaurant will be the company’s sixth in Sussex, Surrey and Kent and is expected to reopen in the winter.
The iconic, chalet-style building has been empty for more than 18 months.
Councillor Lenny Walker, Cabinet member for Leisure and Culture, said: “I’m delighted that Smith and Western have signed up to bring a new restaurant to Tilgate Park.
“This, along with all the other improvements and new activities we’re looking to bring in, will make a visit to Tilgate Park better than ever before.”
Improvements and potential new activities at Crawley Borough Council’s flagship park include:
The Environment Agency work on the new dam at the northern end of Tilgate Lake should be completed this month. The lake is refilling naturally with rainwater and fencing around the lake will be removed soon
The council will encourage family-friendly fishing when the lake is full, while carp fishing will continue in the adjacent Silt Lake
The council is looking into providing a wider range of leisure activities on Tilgate Lake, for example boating, canoeing, windsurfing, etc.
The council will also be working with partner organisations to provide a range of exciting land-based leisure facilities in the park and its woodlands, such as aerial walkways in the trees and more activities for children
The fisherman’s car park, behind the new dam, is being improved with better surfacing and more parking spaces
The council is aiming to update the animal enclosures in Tilgate Nature Centre and improve the café and gift shop facilities. The animal collection will be reassessed to include more animals popular with children, while maintaining a strong conservation focus
The council could help with the creation of a Friends of Tilgate Park group, similar to those already established for Goffs Park and Worth Park.