Station entrance closure could be reversed... in 2018
PUBLISHED: 08:00 29 July 2016
An unpopular decision to close an entrance to Weston-super-Mare Railway Station looks set to be reversed – but the reopening may not take place for another two years.
The station’s Sunnyside Road entrance, which is on the opposite side of the tracks to the main station entrance, was closed last summer by station operator Great Western Railway (GWR).
GWR said at the time the station closure was necessary due to repeated incidents of antisocial behaviour, despite fears disabled customers would not be able to get across the train tracks as the station is not fitted with a lift.
However, the Mercury understands GWR is in the process of reopening the entrance with ticket barriers, in a bid to deter antisocial behaviour, but this may not happen until autumn 2018.
In an email seen by the Mercury, a GWR employee said: “We are now working on a reopening of the Sunnyside entrance to the station but with the benefit of a new ticket gateline, to ensure best access to train services in a manner which is secure and helps us to create the safe and pleasant environment passengers expect.
“In conjunction with the Access For All project (a Government programme to improve step-free access at stations) we will also be able to provide a fully accessible bridge between platforms. We hope these improvements will help us to create a much better station which fully meets our shared aspirations.”
Both of Weston’s Central ward councillors have campaigned for the entrance to be reopened. Liberal Democrat group leader, Cllr Mike Bell, said he was asking the council, GWR and Network Rail to consider installing a pedestrian footbridge across the line so people could cross the tracks without needing a ticket.
Cllr Bell said: “It’s vital that we get the ticket gates and disabled access improvements much more quickly than in two years. This will help, but it will mean that there will be no through-route across the station unless you have a ticket.”
Conservative Cllr Richard Nightingale said: “I have had more than 100 complaints from residents and visitors who have been seriously inconvenienced by the gate closure. This is a victory for all those groups and will improve access to our town for residents and visitors.”