Cafe Basmaccino, which has been serving teas, coffees and refreshments to long-suffering commuters at Norwood Junction for the past nine years, could be forced to close on Tuesday, as its landlords, LOROL – London Overground, a subsidiary of Transport for London, which is controlled by London Mayor Boris Johnson – refuse to extend the business owner’s lease.
Rashid Yassine has always paid his rent, and has spent his own money having the property redecorated to LOROL’s requirements, yet could find himself unemployed by midweek.
Commuters and South Norwood residents have rallied to Yassine’s plight and have launched a petition asking LOROL to reconsider their decision and provide the business with a new long-term lease. LOROL has offered a short lease with a clause that would allow them to evict him at any time.
Yassine and his customers fear that LOROL want him off the station in order to bring in one of the large chain coffee shops.
“I’m angry and disgusted and disappointed with the way I have been treated,” Yassine said in an interview with the local free paper. “What’s the difference between me and the big chains? I give better service.
“Whatever they have asked me I have done. They want to give the space to somebody else.
“If I’m kicked out I will be signing on. I won’t be able to get another place at a station. It’s heartbreaking after nine years and I get treated like this, it’s not nice.”
The residents’ petition urges LOROL to renew the “lease at Cafe Basmaccino with less restrictive conditions.
“He is a valued member of the community and we very much want him and his business to stay at Norwood Junction Station. He deserves to have a permanent lease and to carry on as he has done to the last nine years providing an excellent service to the community.”
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