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Customers rally to support staff and owners of popular Inverness café currently run by Cobbs but set to be taken over by High Life Highland

By Staff Reporter

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Laura Urquhart and Manager Hannah Walton.
Laura Urquhart and Manager Hannah Walton.

More than 2000 online comments call on High Life Highland to reverse its decision to take over the café at Inverness's Botanic Gardens.

High Life Highland (HLH) has announced the catering at the city’s Botanic Gardens and nursery will be done in-house after being operated by Drumnadrochit commercial operator Cobbs for the last nine years.

The move involves terminating Cobbs's contract three years early.

HLH says it is part of a broader move to expand its catering service to help it reinvest, protect and safeguard its core services across the Highlands.

But Cobbs, which is considering challenging the decision, says it has received 2000 comments via social media calling for HLH to honour the original agreement for the company to remain until 2023.

Cobbs director Fraser Campbell said the company was overwhelmed and grateful for the support.

“Staff especially have been moved to tears by all the kind and supportive comments,” he said.

He had earlier acknowledged that HLH was within its rights to terminate the contract, but felt it was unfair.

“From day one, we have worked hard on that site,” he said.

“It seems morally corrupt they can do that.”

HLH is also taking the café at Hilton Community Centre in Inverness under its wing after announcing it would be replaced with vending machines.

HLH chief executive Steve Walsh said bringing all catering provision in-house would offer a wider opportunity to develop provision and protect its core services.

His organisation appreciated Cobbs had worked with HLH staff to build the Botanic Gardens into a popular attraction. Staff would be offered the opportunity to transfer to HLH.

Related article: Shock as Cobbs' café contract is axed three years early

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