THE much-loved cafe at Great Malvern railway station, which faced closure, will remain open after its proprietor and Network Rail reached an agreement over rent.

The shadow of closure was hanging over Lady Foley's Tea Room when Network Rail, which owns the station, said that its rent would be increased by as much as 300 per cent.

Margaret Baddeley, who has run the cafe on the station's Platform One for the last 20 years, said that such a huge rent hike would make her business unviable.

The news generated a backlash among members of the public, many of whom said that the cafe was an integral part of the station's charm.

It has been compared to the station cafe in the classic British film Brief Encounter.

This week, Mrs Baddeley said she was delighted and relieved that an agreement has been reached.

She said: "I just want to thank everybody for the wonderful support we have received. People have been wonderful, saying how much the cafe means to the character of the station. I'm just glad that we have been able to reach an agreement."

The terms of the agreement have not been disclosed, having been covered by commercial confidentiality.

A spokesman for Network Rail said: "We are pleased to have come to an agreement with the tenant at Lady Foley's Tea Room, that will see the cafe continuing to operate at the station.

"It was never our intention to see the tea room disappear and we have been in discussions over the past few months to reach a solution that works for all involved.

"We really value the feedback we have received from local residents and rail users on the impact and importance of the tea room.

"In response, we will be enhancing our community engagement activities at Great Malvern and working more closely with the tenant to support the great work already being done.

"We are looking forward to engaging with the local community more closely going forward.

"As railway stations are state-owned assets, we have a duty to our passengers who buy tickets, and the taxpayer, to get a realistic return on the rents for all our premises.

"We have been reviewing the rents charged to tenants at all our stations across the network to make sure we are maintaining this duty, whilst supporting local businesses and communities."

The cafe is named after Lady Emily Foley, who in the 19th century was a major influence in getting the station built. She had a waiting room made for her exclusive use, which is now the cafe.