Couple pursue tourism dream

DREAM BIG: Graham and Marlene Manvell are combining both their passions in a new development. Photo: Peter Hardin
DREAM BIG: Graham and Marlene Manvell are combining both their passions in a new development. Photo: Peter Hardin

PLANS for a new $1.2m accommodation venue and eatery have been lodged with Tamworth Regional Council, with a local business couple the masterminds behind the project.

Graham and Marlene Manvell, the owners of SSS BBQ Barn have lodged their intention to build tourist accommodation and a cafe on a parcel of land on Craigends Ln.

Documents lodged with council have revealed the proposal to develop 21 tourist cabins at the site which surrounds their SSS restaurant.

Accompanying the tourist accommodation is a proposal for a “boutique cafe” which the documents said would be attached to the existing restaurant and serve simple food with a twist, featuring local produce, gourmet pastries and sandwiches and salads.

It is proposed the cafe would operate seven days per week.

Mr Manvell, an esteemed chef and baker, said the project has been a “dream” for quite some time.

“We’ve held the property over there for over a 20 years and have had a dream of having something like this, but it was a matter of getting into the position where we can,” he told The Leader.

“We have always wanted to showcase our local produce and it has been part of why we have gone into farming and different things as well.

“It’s all part of tourism, to accommodate people and to feed them with great regional produce.”

Mr Manvell said the tourist cabins would vary between one and two bedrooms.

He described the cafe as “country and truly Tamworth” with the couple excited to further showcase what the area has to offer.

“We grow so many fantastic things in the region,” he said.

“We have our own farms with different beef and buffalo, I’m from a family of bakers so there will be a lot of really good, fresh food. 

“It’ll be good, don’t worry about that.”

He said the location was a tourist hot spot in the city and was close to major entertainment venues.

“The land out here is perfect for it, it is in the vicinity of TRECC and the equine centre with plenty of room – we think it’s going to be a nice taste of rural in Tamworth," Mr Manvell said. 

“We’re just going to go through all the procedures with council and the minute we can get onto it, we will.”

The development application is now before council for consideration.