A council chief has hit back at “lies” over the future of the Pavilion Gardens in Brighton.

But supporters of the 72-year-old cafe in its grounds stood by their claims that a masterplan for the area would see it disappear.

The Royal Pavilion and Museums and Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival are working on a new design for the historic estate.

The organisations are bidding for £14 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The money would go towards a planned £35 million revamp of the gardens and buildings.

The owners of Pavilion Gardens cafe in the grounds of the estate insist that the cafe must be not be moved.

On its Facebook page, they posted a series of statements claiming that the gardens would be totally fenced off, visitors would be charged to enter and that the royal estate would be privatised.

Each of these claims is categorically denied by the council, the Royal Pavilion and the Brighton Dome.

A spokeswoman for the council said: “Our current thinking is the best solution would be a visitor welcome centre which would include a café.

"We met again with David Sewell and Friends of the Pavilion Garden Café last week to look at the potential options for a new building to house the café as part of planning for the future of the Royal Pavilion Estate.

“Consultation with the Sewell family is ongoing with the aim of reaching an agreed plan to improve the visitor welcome and preserve the estate’s long-term future.

“The vision includes some ideas about how events – particularly free entertainment – could be held in the gardens to discourage antisocial behaviour and encourage more people to use the gardens in the evenings for positive activities rather than those that create problems and damage.”

Councillor Geoffrey Bowden said: “The idea that the Pavilion Gardens are to be privatised is a grotesque notion and is completely untrue.

"One can only speculate about the motives of those who are spreading such lies. Rest assured the gardens are assets owned by the city and will remain so.”

Last night David Sewell stood by the comments on the Pavilion Cafe Facebook site.

He said: “For the last six months the Friends of the Cafe have asked for proper key stakeholder consultation. We have received a number of meetings with little information.

"Last week the Friends were shown a plan for the first time of a gateway from New Road with two buildings either side, one marked cafe to the south and one marked retail to the north.

"These buildings looked like they butted onto New Road. The plan had no detail of the elm trees or other features.

“At the council meeting on Thursday Coun Geoffrey Bow- den said the plan would be part of the bid and would be available to see online on the council website.

“This was a shock to all the Friends who attended, as the council and other stakeholders have said all along there would be no plans going in at the end of November regarding the cafe and gardens.

“The plan confirmed the demolition of the cafe we had suspected all along.

“Both I and the Friends will keep saying we want to support this bid, but not at the expense of the cafe, its building, patio and heritage.”