MP to host talks on former Railway Arms in Downham Market

The Railway Arms at Downham Market train station ANL-161025-192353001
The Railway Arms at Downham Market train station ANL-161025-192353001
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Talks are due to take place today on the future of the site of the former Railway Arms micropub at Downham’s railway station.

The business, together with the adjoining Fenland Express cafe, closed suddenly in October, following a dispute over rent charges.

And the site’s owners say they are receiving expressions of interest in taking on the building.

The meeting with officials from Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), which owns the site and is the parent company of the area’s main train operator Great Northern, has been requested by the town’s MP, Elizabeth Truss.

Town councillors and representatives of the Fen Line Users Association are also expected to take part in the talks.

Ms Truss said: “The Railway Arms and cafe proved to be a fantastic asset to the station and town so I was extremely disappointed when it closed.

“I am keen to ensure the building is put back into use as soon as possible.

“The station is one of the key gateways to Downham Market and the Fens so it is vital that we maximise the potential of the site.”

The premises have been empty since the previous tenants handed back the keys in late October in protest at a proposed rent increase they claimed was excessive in a notice placed in the window.

At the time, there were claims that GTR was seeking to treble the rent. The company did not specify how much they wanted to raise the charge by, but maintained the sum was “very modest.”

A GTR spokesman said the meeting would update local stakeholders on the status of the building, which is currently undergoing repairs.

She said: “TPT, our property management company, have started to put out feelers to see what interest there is locally.

“We have had some very positive feedback and interest so far.”

Ms Truss will also be hosting a rail summit in Downham later this month, to discuss progress made towards long-sought improvements to the area’s rail links.