The new café at the Jack Silley Pavilion officially opened its doors to the public yesterday.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was conducted by Town Mayor Nigel Avey in honour of 'Julie’s at Stonards' extension completion at the Stonards Hill recreation ground in Epping.

Proposals to refresh and expand the vandalised building regularly used by dog walkers, exercisers and scouts were submitted to Epping Forest District Council back in 2017.

The pavilion upgrade cost £250,000 including a £7,000 award from the National Lottery earlier this year.

Speaking before the ribbon-cutting ceremony Cllr Avey said: "It is really good to see a town council project come to fruition and to create something which will really benefit local residents.

"This project isn't just about this wonderful cafe but also the refurbished changing rooms and other community space.

"This is an important building in the fabric of community buildings in Epping and I hope we have given it a prolonged and useful life."

An outdoor table tennis table and exercise equipment is set to will be installed thanks to funding by Tesco Bags of Help scheme and Big Lottery Awards for All respectively.

Breakfasts, lunches, afternoon teas, cakes, snacks and ice creams and a selection of hot and cold drinks will be served at the refurbished café run by Julie Turrell.

"When the chance arose to open a café in the park that I grew up in, I jumped at it,” said Ms Turrell.

"I’m so excited to be able to add to the character and community facilities of our town and my home for the past 20 years.

"The cafe, which is dog friendly, is bringing people together and providing a community space for all users of Stonards Hill recreation ground."

'Julie's At Stonards' will be open 9am-5pm daily and closed on Thursdays.

For more information email or visit 'Julie's At Stonards' is on Facebook 'Julie’s At Stonards' or Instagram @Julieatstonards.