Commuter anger over station café

Commuters are dismayed that a popular independent café at Three Bridges Station has been told it will not be part of the new station.

Brunchies Café, run by Mukesh and Varsha Patel at Three Bidges for 16 years, has lost its bid for a unit at the revamped station.

Franchise Caffe Latte will take over the unit after the works are complete in February 2013.

Sandwich chain Subway and a newsagent will take over the remaining two units.

Commuter Terry Jarvis, a Brunchies customer for 16 years, learned the news from a note posted by Mr and Mrs Patel on the window of the café’s temporary home outside the station.

Mr Jarvis: “It’s quite disgusting really. We’re a party of 12 that commute together and we’re all quite angry.

“I’ve been going to London for 35 years and going to their café every morning for 16 years.They’ve been here a number of years and most people are very happy with the service they provide. The food and drink are excellent. It’s spotlessly clean and they always recognise their customers.”

Southern Railway, which operates the station, said Caffe Latte was not a national chain and would be run be a local small business owner.

Eleven other branches of Caffe Latte are listed on its website though only three appear to have opened.

Mrs Patel said she and her husband were told their bid was unsuccessful during a meeting but had yet to receive official notification in writing.

A spokesman for Southern said: “The successful bidder offered more investment in the unit and an enhanced product and service for passengers.

“This has been discussed with Mr Patel and although he was unsuccessful in this process, he will able to bid for any other opportunities which arise on Southern’s estate.”