IT’S the icing on the cake of an incredible project to transform a railway station.
Emsworth station, which has already had £300,000 spent on it to bring it into the 21st century, is set to have its own coffee and cake shop after residents rallied round again.
Members of Emsworth Residents’ Association have managed to raise £5,000 to rewire the station to allow a cafe to be installed in one of the old waiting rooms.
The association raised £2,500 and this was match-funded by Southern Railway.
Former army commando Garry Pascoe, 51, and his wife Michelle Pascoe, 46, a physical training instructor in the Royal Navy, are planning second careers and have submitted plans for the coffee shop to Havant Borough Council.
Lorraine Clode, vice-president of the residents’ association, said: ‘It was always our aim that the small waiting room has the potential to be a coffee shop. This is the end of quite a long journey.
‘Garry had to jump through lots of bureaucratic hoops through planning and with the railway itself.
‘It’s taken such a long time because the electricity grid that supplies the station was already at the max.
‘Even if you had put the kettle on, it would have blown the fuse in the ticket machine.
‘They could not do anything without upgrading that electricity network.’
The station’s once-dilapidated waiting room was reopened last year. The station has also been repainted, spruced up with flower beds, and also has a ramp to allow disabled people and parents with pushchairs on to the Chichester-bound platform.
A patch of green land next to the ramp has been adopted by a conservation group.
The land is looked after by The Friends of Emsworth Waysides, who look after 16 waysides in the town.
Mrs Clode added: ‘Now we want people to use it and further enjoy the experience of coming to Emsworth station. Now a passenger can come on to the platform, sit in the dry and warmth of the waiting room, read a good book from the library the residents’ association has donated, and have a coffee.’
Mr Pascoe said he can’t wait to get started, provided he is granted planning approval.
He said: ‘I am going to build it all myself because I am a bit of a DIY boffin.
‘I hope to cheer the place up and give my wife a second career.’