Rail operator talks ongoing after rent hike at Great Malvern Station puts much-loved tea room under threat - The Malvern Observer

Rail operator talks ongoing after rent hike at Great Malvern Station puts much-loved tea room under threat

Malvern Editorial 4th Mar, 2019   0

TRAIN operator West Midlands Railway (WMR) said it would review the rent arrangements at Great Malvern Station in a bid to help prevent the closure of a much-loved tea room, writes Kirsty Card.

Lady Foley’s Tea Room became threatened by closure after a rent increase in January by WMR which was reviewing its station assets.

MP Harriett Baldwin wrote to the company’s Managing Director Jan Chaudhry-Van who agreed to help find a way to prevent the closure.

A West Midlands Railways spokesperson said: “We are currently in negotiations with the tenant at Lady Foley’s to find a solution to concerns raised around her rent review, the first one that has been undertaken in 25 years.

“We are committed to reaching a fair agreement with the tenant, so discussions are still ongoing.

“We have had a lot of feedback from the local community who want to see the tea room continue at the station, and we do not want to see the space at Great Malvern lie empty.

“There is a great deal of community support for the tea room and we are taking this opportunity for engaging with local residents and rail users to look at how we can improve our community engagement at Great Malvern.”

She added because railway stations were state-owned assets the company had a duty to ticket-buying passengers and taxpayers to get a ‘realistic return’ on the rents for all its premises.

Mrs Baldwin stepped in after several concerned members of the public contacted her about the issue.

She said: “Lady Foley’s Tea Room is much-loved by local people and visitors alike, and it continues to play an important role for people travelling to and from the town.

“I was surprised to see the details of the dramatic rent hike which was proposed by West Midlands Railway and I have urged the managing director to try and find a compromise which will not threaten the business.

“I am grateful for the confirmation that the franchise holder is looking to find a compromise and I look forward to hear an update on these discussions very soon.”

Negotiations over the issue are still ongoing.


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