MP blasts Transport Secretary over year-long delay to train station accessibility funding

17 Apr 2024
Tim at Staveley station

This afternoon, Cumbrian MP Tim Farron has written to the Transport Secretary Mark Harper to demand that he announces train station accessibility funding following a one-year delay.

In September 2022, bids were submitted to the Government’s Access for All scheme to improve accessibility at Oxenholme and Ulverston railway stations.

A decision on successful bids was expected in April 2023 but 12 months later and a decision has still yet to be announced, a decision which Tim has described as “appalling” and “unacceptable”.

Passengers using Oxenholme station currently face a steep ramp to reach Platforms 2 and 3 which poses great challenges to wheelchair users, those with mobility issues, and parents using pushchairs.

Meanwhile Platform 3 at Ulverston station is only accessible via steps. For those unable to use steps they must use the barrow crossing, a service that must be booked in advance with a member of staff always accompanying them

The year-long delay also means that no bids have been able to be made for the next round of funding for smaller stations such as Staveley and Arnside.

In his letter to the Secretary of State, Tim said: “Here in South Cumbria, we have Access For All bids to improve accessibility at Ulverston and Oxenholme stations – both on the outskirts of the Lake District and therefore crucial to Britain’s visitor economy.

“Not only is this shameful delay at the severe detriment to passengers using these stations, but it also introduces a further delay to us being able to bid into the next round of funding for smaller stations where access desperately needs improving.

“This includes Staveley in the Lake District, where the station’s only platform can only be accessed by climbing 41 steep steps. It also includes Arnside station where, if you are unable to walk up the 22 steps, the only way to access the southbound platform is by walking on the road under the railway bridge which has no pavements into oncoming traffic.

“Therefore I urge you to stop treating disabled people, elderly residents and anyone with mobility issues as a second class citizens, and urgently announce Access for All funding today.”

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