We reported on November 16 that the Royal Pavilion and Brighton Dome are working on a new design for Pavilion Gardens. They are bidding for £14 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund to revamp the estate, owned by Brighton and Hove City Council. The owner of the cafe in the grounds claims the plans put the future of the much-loved amenity at risk. The claims have been denied by the council, the Pavilion and the Dome. Seven readers of The Argus give us their views:

I was born in Brighton almost 60 years ago and have lived here for most of my life.

I am very concerned about the possibility of closing the Pavilion Gardens Cafe, fencing off the gardens and charging for access – in effect privatising them.

I sincerely hope these are only rumours; it would be a travesty to deny the people free access to the gardens and the excellent cafe and patio.

The cafe is a much-loved and unique asset. It is irreplaceable and would be a sad loss.

I believe Pavilion Gardens, the cafe and, of course, the Pavilion and Dome are an important cultural asset for the city, but more so because they are freely accessible.

It is sensible to charge for entry to the Royal Pavilion, but not to the rest of the estate. It should remain open to everyone.

Any issues regarding security in the evening can surely be resolved without having to go to such drastic lengths.

Jenny Embleton, St Nicholas Road, Brighton

I can’t believe what I am reading. We cannot be getting rid of our beloved cafe in Pavilion Gardens. Whatever they replaced it with would not be the same. These claims and counterclaims could be cleared up once and for all by the council providing clear information on the proposals.

Myself, my family and the local community have used and loved the cafe for decades. When will we be asked for our views?

Karen Stiles, Woodland Drive, Hove

Gradually more and more is being revealed about the plans for the Royal Pavilion estate.

There is a compelling case for funding to improve access, maintain these marvellous historic buildings and to provide visitor information more effectively. I hope the bid for that work is successful.

However, less certain is what officials want to do about with the gardens. There is vague talk about “reconnecting the buildings with each other and with the gardens”. Does that mean opening up the currently unusable tunnels between buildings? What an interesting idea!

But if, as is claimed, visitors really are wandering around the estate unsure of where they are then maybe, as well as the proposed information centre, much better signage and well-informed stewards in the gardens are what’s needed, rather than a major and costly redesign.

If antisocial behaviour is a problem then security staff and improved lighting could be a solution.

Will the estate be fenced off and locked at certain times? That would certainly make it easier to raise money by hiring out parts of the estate, including the gardens, for private events. But would that actually improve access, which officials claim is a main aim? Is an up-market cafe restaurant part of the plan? Will heritage values really be enhanced by adding a conservatory which John Nash might have imagined but never built?

It is all so uncertain. Perhaps there would be fewer suspicions about this funding bid and more support if it concentrated on work that was actually needed.

David Lepper, former Labour MP for Brighton Pavilion

The Pavilion Gardens plans are beyond awful, unwanted by residents and unnecessary for visitors.

These gardens are very special to the people of Brighton. Our son learned to walk there. Much of their charm is that they are shared by residents and visitors, are always open and can be walked through freely from several entrances.

As for the retail/visitor idea, there are already shops in the Royal Pavilion and Brighton Museum. There was an excellent information centre in Pavilion Buildings until the council recently closed it.

Geoffrey Bowden should be ashamed of himself. Not just for promoting these dreadful proposals, but also for accusing the cafe’s supporters of lying. They had been trying for months to get clear and understandable information about the estate’s plans. Even now, Mr Bowden says there are no designs for the proposed building that can be “shared” with the current cafe’s owner.

Those involved simply must not be allowed to get away with this foolish scheme.

David Gray, Dyke Road Drive, Brighton

I wish to register my strongest objection to these plans. This estate was purchased on behalf of the town by civic-minded aldermen. The current administration has no right or remit to carry out these appalling plans. For some people, it is the only bit of greenery they see during the day as they cut through the gardens on their way to work or take lunch there.

What about the destruction of the Pavilion Cafe and the lives of the family which has run it for generations?

I am horrified and enraged with the sheer scale of these plans, which nobody called for. The feeble excuse of “antisocial” behaviour at night does not justify this mutilation. It isn’t happening every night. All that is required is an extra police presence for a few months, and it will stop. Failing that, install lockable gates at the entrance.

Brightonians, email your local councillors, MPs and anybody else you think might help to oppose this unnecessary, destructive plan.

Penny Hajduk, Manton Road, Brighton

I have lived in Brighton for most of my long life. The Pavilion Gardens Cafe has been a sanctuary for me since I came to England in 1950, when it first opened.

It feels like home to me. I have enjoyed it with my children and grandchildren. I used to bring my wheelchair-bound husband to the peaceful gardens and he enjoyed the atmosphere. Now a widow, I can sit there and not feel lonely as I know all the staff from way back. Living in North Laine, I can meet neighbours for tea and chat.

When I told a neighbour of mine about the plans, he said he would leave Brighton. The whole set-up is a big part of my life and the thought it might close is very sad.

Heather Hacker, Tidy Street, Brighton

We, the regular users of the cafe on an almost daily basis, weather permitting, love our little cafe and the unpretentious style of food, with pots of tea and rock cakes, and toasted sandwiches and jacket potatoes, all executed to the highest standard.

We would be horrified to wake up and find a modern, glass monstrosity complete with Michelin-star chef serving crepe suzettes and jugs of Pimms at 15 quid a head!

If the council does have an abundance of money to spend, I’m sure a few rose bushes in the garden would not go amiss, plus a very generous donation to the Philippines.

Peter Stowell Phillips, Chapel Street, Brighton

What do you think? Email letters@theargus.co.uk