Newsagent Harendra Bhatt has operated a news kiosk at the station for the past 19 years, for which he pays an index-linked annual rent of £7,500 plus VAT for a unit measuring 5ft x 6ft. He believes that site owner Network Rail is planning to use the space for a fast food concession paying an even higher rent.
"If I'm forced to leave the station forecourt, there is nowhere else for me to go to make my livelihood," he told
C-Store. "This is the profit motive overriding everything else. There are already hundreds of fast food places around here, we don't need another one."
A letter to Harendra from Network Rail's commercial property arm Spacia, seen by Convenience Store, says that the decision to give him notice to quit is "predominantly commercial".
Also affected are a local florist and a coffee stall. Local MP Emily Thornberry has taken up the case on behalf of the traders by writing to the chief executive of Network Rail, and Harendra has started a petition.