Tooting MP Rosena Allin-Khan backs popular Wandsworth Common café ‘shown no respect’ and facing eviction

A popular Wandsworth Common café fighting against eviction has been backed by Tooting MP Rosena Allin-Khan.

Café Blanca in Wandsworth Common station found out its lease would not be renewed by their landlord Govia Thameslink Railway in June, after 14 years on the site.

But Dr Allin-Khan MP claims the café serves a vital role in the community, and has sent a letter to Charles Horton, CEO of Govia Thameslink Railway, asking for a reversal of their decision.

“Café Blanca has been serving the community for years. The community love them and they are the first point of contact for many people in the morning,” the 39-year-old MP said.

“We’d like to come to a solution that suits everyone. It’s in Govia’s interest to keep it there, they need to show they are listening to the public. At the moment they’ve shown no respect for what the café does.”

Popular with commuters and residents, the café serves more than a thousand customers a week.

Café Blanca’s regular customers started a petition to save it when they discovered the news of the eviction.

The petition currently has around 370 signatures, with more people signing every day.

Dorothy Daifi, who works with her husband in the café said: “At the moment we’re very depressed, and we’re out of energy.

“We don’t have any idea what we’ll do after they shut this place. It’s too hard to think about.

“To start something new you need to have positive energy, which they have taken from us. We’ve always been so happy here, and they’ve taken all of that now.”

Regular customer Simon Wilson OBE said: “It’s an absolute scandal what’s being done, this is a marvellous place to have on Wandsworth Common Station, it’s local, it’s good, the coffee is lovely and the sandwiches are lovely. I was horrified when I was told they were closing.”

Mrs Daifi said the past few months has put huge strain on them, saying she felt spied on by people surveying the café.

She said: “People were coming in and spying on us – people were coming and counting the customers.

“There was even a lady who walked around the station for four hours, which you cannot do, and the police were called and she had to go.

“It was a really stressful time with a lot of pressure.”

Govia have not yet set any timeframe for the future of Café Blanca and are yet to respond to Dr Allin-Khan’s letter.

In the meantime the new shadow sports minister hopes the petition can generate enough interest to pressure Govia into finding a solution that suits everybody.

To sign the petition, visit Café Blanca in Wandsworth Common station.

Govia Thameslink Railway were contacted for comment but have not replied.

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