Alfreton councillors angry at station delay

Alfreton Town Council has reacted angrily to the news that plans to make the town's rail station more accessible have been put on hold indefinitely.

Sunday, 8th January 2017, 2:35 pm
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 1:03 pm
51-2249-1 Alfreton Station

Proposals to make the station’s two platforms more user friendly for travellers with disabilities were given the green light 18 months ago - but it now appears that the work has been shelved.

The council is seeking formal confirmation, but has been led to understand that the scheme has been cancelled by the Department for Transport.

Council leader Councillor Scott Walker said: “The public needs to be aware that it is the Government who have stopped the scheme and the reality of the situation is that it could be more than seven years before the scheme comes around.

“It is unacceptable that the scheme has been stopped again and that the bad news has been sneaked out when cynically, before the last General Election, the news of the scheme approval was broadcast from the rooftops.”

Coun Walker also said that train companies operating on the line had been contacting the council for clarification, as information has not been forthcoming from the government.

Alterations planned for the station are meant to provide step-free access to both platforms and a new footbridge with lifts.

Further developments are to include a new ticket office, waiting area, toilets and retail space.

The plans had been fully surveyed, designed and costed, and were presented to the public last autumn.

The council has vowed to keep up the pressure to ensure the works are completed, having pushed for changes for more than 20 years already.

It is working with a number of bodies to highlight the plight of disabled passengers and bring about a discrimination claim.

Alfreton mayor Mary Kerry added: “The situation beggars belief with unprecedented investment in the rail industry, when fares keep rising faster than inflation and HS2 is going to connect with a route that some people can’t even access.

“The scheme is all designed and it is no defence that the cost of the scheme makes it reasonable for the discrimination to take place when the vast budgets of Network Rail are considered.”

As well as delays to the project, the council has also sought to highlight ongoing issues with disability transport services.

A dedicated taxi service is available for disabled rail travellers but train operators do not currently advertise it.

The council is asking operators to change signage at the station which advises customers to take a one-hour detour.