A COMMUNITY cafe which welcomes walkers, cyclists and tourists is to get a facelift.

Whitegate Station Cafe in Marton, Winsford, has received planning permission to extend its kitchen and toilet facilities.

The two-storey red brick building on Clay Lane is believed to have been constructed around the 1870s.

The old station house is home to the cafe which is staffed mostly run by volunteers and a small number of paid staff.

It provides refreshments for people using the Whitegate Way, a footpath on the line of a disused railway.

Cheshire West and Chester Council approved plans to create a new toilet block and extend the existing kitchen.

The venture has been proposed by the Whitegate Station Community Group, a not for profit business which manages the facility.

The plans include adding a 'Victorian style' glass canopy around the station and will consist of cast iron posts and a patent glazed roof.

The existing kitchen and toilet facilities are out of date and restrict the expansion and function of the business, councillors were told at a planning committee meeting last week.

Outdoor toilets frequently vandalised and have become unusable. This building will now become a community workshop.

The new toilets will include a disabled ramp, safety guard rail and new timber fence.

Extra doors will be added to improve access.

The proposed canopy will provide an outdoor seating area for customers with dogs and bikes and is felt to be visually synonymous with a railway building built around the 1870s period.

A report to the planning committee stated: "This hub provides convenient disabled access to the countryside and the availability of adult tricycles for hire delivers a valuable form of exercise for those with reduced mobility.

"The protection of this area and its surroundings should be a foremost consideration in all planning decisions which impact upon it.

"The proposal has generally been sympathetically designed and would protect the character of this locally important building."

The cafe serves a selection of fresh hot and cold food and drinks and is open from 10am to 3pm on weekdays and 10am to 4pm at weekends and Bank Holidays.