Campaign to fund accessibility at Handforth station
Tatton MP Esther McVey has urged Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to support a 20 year local campaign and fund much needed accessibility improvements at Handforth station.
Friends of Handforth Station together with Cheshire East Council, Handforth Parish Council and Northern Rail submitted a bid to the Department for Transport as part of its Access for All scheme, which allocates cash for station accessibility improvements.
Ms McVey has joined the fight setting out to Mr Grayling why change is vital and Handforth must get the green-light.
Ms McVey said: “I have told Chris how much these improvements are needed and set out the reasons why. There are fewer buses now serving this area, despite a growing population, and being able to access the station provides a means of residents to be able to get to work and leisure activities in surrounding towns and cities. The only option now for disabled commuters or those with pushchairs is driving to Wilmslow, several miles away to get on the train, which seems counter-intuitive.
“I have seen passengers struggle up and down the flights of 35 steps which must be negotiated to access each of the platforms. Friends of Handforth Station have campaigned tirelessly for years on this and through their hard work and support from Cheshire East Council, Handforth Parish Council and Northern Rail the bid has been submitted. The whole community is behind this and it was important Chris Grayling knew the strength of feeling and what a difference it could make to the lives of so many in the local area. People are living longer and want their independence, improving the access would help as the current situation is totally unsuitable.”
The Access for All scheme provides funding for step free access and other necessary adaptations and since it launched in 2006 more than 200 stations have benefited from step free access and another 1,500 stations had smaller access improvements made. In July Government announced it would extend the scheme from 2019 to 2024 with an extra £300 million made available.
Nominations closed last week and successful projects will be announced in the Spring.