Train station shops and cafe ‘could be deemed part of the high street’

Southern train
Southern train

I write in support of the excellent letter from Norman Saxby in support of reinstating cafes and shops on railway stations driven out by high rents.

My trade union Usdaw has a campaign to sustain the high street. In this context shops and cafes on railway stations could be deemed part of the high street. And they need to be reinstated via better railway policy.

One of my local Usdaw union members, a very dynamic and enterprising lady, ran a taxi service, shop and cafe combined at Pulborough railway station.

Yes, one could order a taxi, or enjoy a coffee, or buy goods and newspapers - or indeed all at once - and on site at the station. However high rents drove this invaluable asset out - and now no one is there. And thus both railway and hard working commuters lose out - and big time. Also railway staff lose out.

Going forward the railway may care to consider offering services rent-free agreements at stations like Pulborough and Horsham in exchange for the maximum investment in their services to benefit of their passengers.

Such a solution is a most definite win - win. The railways would become a more attractive proposition from passengers’ viewpoint. And very useful employment would be another winner.

John Barstow

Member : Usdaw Executive Council, The Fleet, Fittleworth