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Steve Davis backs couple’s battle to save Billericay kiosk
7:00am Monday 26th July 2010 in News
SNOOKER legend Steve Davis has backed a campaign to save a popular station snack bar.
Former six-time world champion Steve, 52, popped into Bread and Buffers, next to Billericay rail station’s ticket office, and added his name to a petition to save the cafe, which has been serving commuters for 18 years.
It is set for demolition as part of a planned £1.4million revamp, which will see the shop make way for a bigger ticket office.
Steve’s name joins more than 1,000 others calling for National Express, which leases Billericay station from Network Rail, to give shop owners, Nadia and Hugh McMahon, a place in the redeveloped station.
Mr McMahon, 61, said: “It was a bit of a surprise to see him. All our customers were asking him for autographs.
“He said he was in the area as he’s moving to Stock, and wanted to lend his support.
“We’re so thrilled with all the support we’re getting. The signatures are just piling up.”
As a result of their experience, the couple have also been speaking to other station tenants about forming a tenants’ association to protect small businesses.
The couple, of Stock Road, Billericay, have found a willing ally in Nigel Clark, a coffee-seller whose business is also threatened by refurbishment plans at Marks Tey station, Colchester.
Mr Clark has been selling coffee and newspapers to commuters for nearly ten years, but National Express want to close his stall and create a new shop which will cost nearly £5,000 a year more.
Mrs McMahon, 51, said: “There is very little protection for tenants like us out there. We don't have a voice and that needs to change.”
Derek Monnery, chairman of Essex Rail Users’ Federation, said: “I think the McMahons have had a raw deal from National Express. The only option they’re being given is a smaller unit and that’s not even guaranteed, so I’m behind their campaign.”
National Express bosses previously told the Echo the plans were still being developed, but revealed they would include a shop which would be put out to tender with no priority given to the McMahons.
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