New era beckons for Downham Market railway station pub site
A popular pub and cafe, which has been closed for the past year following a rent dispute, has moved a step closer to re-opening.
Train company bosses say they have found a new tenant to take over the former Railway Arms premises, at Downham’s station.
And, although no date has yet been set for the site to resume trading, community leaders have welcomed the development.
The Railway Arms closed suddenly in October last year when its then tenants claimed the building’s owner, the train operator Great Northern, wanted to treble their rent.
The company disputed that and insisted it wanted to find a new tenant. Refurbishment works have also been undertaken there.
This week. a Great Northern spokesman said: “We are very pleased to announce there will be a new tenant taking on the lease of the existing coffee shop and pub at Downham Market station.
“We are working with the tenant to finalise plans and hope to announce details and their opening date very soon.”
Although the tenant’s identity has not been revealed so far, it is understood that staff recruitment processes have already begun.
Local MP Elizabeth Truss said she was “delighted” by the announcement.
She said: “Downham market is a key gateway to the Fens, welcoming tourists and commuters on a daily basis. Part of the charm and popularity of the station has been the welcoming atmosphere in the Railway Arms so I look forward to seeing the new facilities when it is open in the very near future.”
Town mayor Frank Daymond said he understood contracts for a new tenancy would be signed this week.
He added: “I welcome anything in the town that provides employment for someone.”