At a Plc board meeting on Monday afternoon, we discussed recent events and correspondence surrounding our earlier decision to site a shop at Broadway. Having looked back through everything, it was difficult to understand how that decision did not apparently reach those of the Broadway group who are actually building the station, as it was clearly raised and mentioned on a number of occasions at various planning meetings with representatives of the Broadway team.
We also looked at the commercial considerations surrounding the potential alternative uses of this part the building, and felt clear that our original decision had been correct and remained fully justifiable based upon the facts as we have them. That decision was based in part on the potential unsuitability of this particular space for a café in that it is quite small.
Having made those points, we are also aware that we are dealing here not just with commercial reality, but also with nostalgia and emotion. It is clear from many of the emails received in the last week that many of our volunteers and supporters arriving at the station, would welcome the opportunity for coffee and refreshments from a small café and were expecting that.
We were encouraged by the fact that we have been assured by a large number of the Broadway volunteers, that they feel that there are sufficient numbers of them to be able to staff and resource a small café on all operating days.
With all that in mind we agreed to change our original decision, and accept a café being sited at Broadway station, with the following caveats.
Firstly, it would be necessary for the Broadway volunteers to convince us that they had a viable business plan, and that there were sufficient of them willing to staff it regularly to make it work. Secondly, if it turned out not to be viable after a couple of years, we would have to reserve the right to change the use of that particular space to a different use. Finally of course, the café would be operated under the auspices of our Railway Catering Services, and all new volunteers would need to be suitably trained, and qualified in food handling techniques.
We hope that this is a decision which will be generally welcomed. There has been a large outpouring of emotion over the last couple of weeks. Whilst we all welcome honest debate, some of the emails which have been sent to us have been objectionable; some have been unacceptably abusive.
We hope that on the basis of this decision, we can all move forward together and accept and understand what it is we are trying to achieve at Broadway.