Station delay ‘damaging trade’ for Ilkeston cafe owner

The Junction Cafe'12th November 2014''Sareena Long, owner of the Junction Cafe, which is struggling for business, shows the bills that she's got to pay.''Picture by Dan Westwell
The Junction Cafe'12th November 2014''Sareena Long, owner of the Junction Cafe, which is struggling for business, shows the bills that she's got to pay.''Picture by Dan Westwell

An Ilkeston cafe which opened just five months ago is already struggling as the promised train station which would have brought in customers still has not opened.

Owner Sereena Long has always dreamt of owning a cafe and she decided to open Junction Cafe, on Station Street, because the train station would bring in a steady stream of customers.

The Junction Cafe'12th November 2014''Sareena Long, owner of the Junction Cafe, which is struggling for business, has a cup of tea and a catch up with 96 year old Mrs Johnson who ran the cafe and bakehouse from 1967-1987 with her husband Alan.''Picture by Dan Westwell

The Junction Cafe'12th November 2014''Sareena Long, owner of the Junction Cafe, which is struggling for business, has a cup of tea and a catch up with 96 year old Mrs Johnson who ran the cafe and bakehouse from 1967-1987 with her husband Alan.''Picture by Dan Westwell

However, although Ilkeston station was predicted to open on December 14, due to financial issues and problems with a protected species of newts, it is now due to open sometime next year.

Sereena, 46, said this had had a devastating impact on her business and she cannot even afford to pay herself a wage at the moment.

She added: “I think it’s absolutely pathetic and ridiculous that it has been delayed, and they are not letting us know exactly what is going on.

“It’s not fair as this is my livelihood.”

Sareena explained that she could not have managed the last few difficult months without her only employee Carole Tingle and their faithful regulars, including 97-year-old Aline Johnson who had run a bakery from the building between 1967 and 1987 with her husband Allan.

She said: “The business is going down quickly after just five months, and I really don’t know why.

“We use fresh bread, butcher’s bacon and free range eggs so it’s all very good quality.”

To try to save the business, Sareena is starting to serve a carvery on a Sunday and is hosting Indian-themed nights including a Ladies Bollywood night complete with an Indian buffet.

But unless the train station opens or the business picks up, Sareena is worried that her dream cafe will not survive another year.

Derbyshire County Council has previously said the new station will open in spring 2015.