Campaigners fighting to the win the popular bus station cafe an 11th hour reprieve arrived in style last night to present an 800 signature petition to a full meeting of Eastleigh Council.
A Velvet double decker bus transported around twenty protestors to the civic offices led by cafe manageress Lynsey Chant.
Velvet Bus driver Geoff Fazackerley – who is also chairman of Portchester conservatives – presented the petition to the council chamber on behalf of the café staff.
He warned that closure meant that six people would lose their jobs and that the premises could remain empty for up to two years resulting in a loss of revenue for the council.
He begged the council to consider granting a one month rolling lease and offered £5000 as a surety.
Summing up he said:
‘We are only a small business but we offer something to the community that could easily be lost if a bigger company took over.”
Responding, the Leader of the Council Keith House reiterated that the council expected to take vacant possession of the premises on the 28 February adding that it was not in the council’s interest to have the property vacant for any length of time and that the petition would discussed at cabinet.
Speaking after the presentation both Lynsey Chant and Mr Fazackerley agreed that although the presentation had gone well they feared it would not be enough to save the cafe.
Both told Eastleigh News they thought the Café’s big business neighbours Sainsbury were slated to take the premises over.
“There was something in Mr House’s body language that tells me it’s done deal’ said Mr Fazackerley despondently.
Among the protestors was Malcolm Clarke – match commentator from Radio Spitfire, Dom Smith from Eastleigh Socialist Party and Stephen Slominski from Eastleigh News (multitasking as a protestor/news blogger).