Eviction is no piece of cake for Railtrack

Railtrack's attempt to eject a tenant from its premises at Liverpool Street station has run in to the buffers, says Roger Pearson.

Railtrack is on track for a High Court confrontation with a fast food bakery it has tried to evict from Liverpool Street station in London.

The case centres on a unit at the station which Railtrack attempted to take back from the bakery, called A Piece of Cake (Liverpool Street), but which it has now been ordered by Mr Justice Eady to allow the company to move back into.

In an interim move, A Piece of Cake has obtained an order allowing it back into its premises, at least for the time being.

It complained that its landlord, Railtrack, moved into the premises overnight, changed the locks and excluded it from the property.

Mr Justice Eady was told that when staff attempted to open the shop on 29 May they were unable to gain entry and there was a notice on the door to the effect that the lease was forfeit for non-payment of rent.

The premises have been closed for business ever since.

When ordering Railtrack to allow A Piece of Cake back into the premises on an undertaking to pay future rent and to supply future predicted turnover figures, Mr Justice Eady said that Railtrack had "jumped the gun".

Railtrack launched High Court proceedings against A Piece of Cake last year, claiming u175,000 in rent arrears which it says are due under the terms of the lease.

A Piece of Cake admits the arrears. But it claims it withheld payment because of a long-running dispute between the company and Railtrack over flood water entering the premises.

A Piece of Cake alleges its unit, which is underneath Hamilton Hall, a pub owned by the Wetherspoon Group, has, over several years, been flooded by water from the pub's toilets.

It claims the water has poured into its premises and the shop has had to be closed for cleaning. It says that on some occasions refitting has also been necessary leading to substantial loss of turnover and profit.

In addition to the claim by Railtrack for rent arrears, the case, which is expected to be heard later this year, also involves a claim for damages by A Piece of Cake against Wetherspoon.