Poll of the week: £1m station investment planned – but does it go far enough for disabled passengers?

PUBLISHED: 13:00 09 February 2018

Cllr Richard Nightingale, Chris Taylor, Steve Ledbrook, Chris Nettleton chairman of Central and Hillside PACT, and Sarah Hadley by the closed entrances to platform one.

Cllr Richard Nightingale, Chris Taylor, Steve Ledbrook, Chris Nettleton chairman of Central and Hillside PACT, and Sarah Hadley by the closed entrances to platform one.

Archant

Ticket barriers could be installed at Weston Railway Station as part of a £1million investment – but there are still no plans for a lift.

View of Weston-super-Mare Railway Station.View of Weston-super-Mare Railway Station.

GWR’s investment in the station includes plans to re-open the entrance to platform one, in Sunnyside Road, but may also mean the waiting room is removed to make room for the ticket barriers.

The platform one entrance was closed in 2015, and GWR said it was due to repeated incidents of antisocial behaviour.

Plans seen by the Mercury in 2016 suggested the entrance would re-open in 2018 with ticket barriers, but also that the bridge linking the two platforms would be made fully-accessible.

MORE: Station’s entrance closure could be reversed... in 2018.

However, lifts are not included in the proposals seen by the Mercury this week, which means disabled and elderly passengers who cannot climb the stairs will still have to be helped across the tracks by station staff.

Steve Ledbrook, who uses a wheelchair and campaigned for the Sunnyside Road entrance to be re-opened in 2015, said: “It seems like disabled people are second to anyone else. Where is the access?”

Mr Ledbrook said the re-opening of the platform one entrance is a positive move, as it means he will be able to park his car on either side of the station to access the platforms.

But, he said, the plans do not go far enough to help those who cannot use the bridge.

MORE: Weston Railway Station given listed status by Historic England.

Weston Central Ward councillor Richard Nightingale said: “There is no doubt GWR’s recent decision to close the level access on to platform one at Weston station has caused passengers considerable inconvenience.

“Even worse some of the most vulnerable people in our community were affected.

“In some cases wheelchair users found themselves having to give several days notice just to access or depart from the platform.

“This policy has also not made the station popular to visitors.

“This week’s announcement by GWR that they will be resolving the matter with a new million pound investment, with building work starting almost immediately and due to be completed by October 2018 is excellent news.”

The station will remain open throughout the work.

The Mercury contacted GWR for a comment, but had not received a response by the time it went to press.

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