CAMPAIGNERS are ‘disappointed’ after a bid to improve disabled access at a railway station has been knocked back.
Community Rail Lancashire and Northern had bid to the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Access for All scheme to improve accessibility at Accrington railway station.
The plans included replacing the current iron bridge with a new bridge with lifts.
It aimed to make both platforms more accessible to disabled people, those with mobility issues and those with children in prams.
But Hyndburn’s MP Graham Jones said the bid has been denied by the DfT due to factors including footfall and incidence of disability in the area, and to ensure fair geographical spread.
Mr Jones, who wrote a letter in support of the bid to the DfT, said: “The department said their decision was based on multiple factors including footfall (weighted by the incidence of disability in the area), stations that would fill accessibility “gaps” and fair geographical spread.
“Northern said that they will reapply at the earliest opportunity if any funding become available.
“The news is highly disappointing. However, I would like to thank Community Rail Lancashire for their efforts.
“There is a huge footfall at Accrington station and it’s important than everyone can access the platforms easily, which is not currently the case.
“It is not only local rail links that are outdated, but our facilities too.”
Brian Todd, chairman of the Blackburn with Darwen Older People’s Forum, said he was very disappointed at the decision.
He said: “There are quite few railway stations that are inaccessible to disabled people and Accrington happens to be one of them.
“There’s also the problem of people who have mobility scooters who have to fold them up in the luggage rack of Northern trains if they want them on the train. It’s absolutely ridiculous.
“This latest very disappointing decision by the DfT shows once again shows its priorities are not in line with reality when it comes to the disabled and those lacking in mobility.”
A DfT spokesman said.“The funding for the Access for All programme was heavily oversubscribed, which unfortunately meant that many strong nominations were not successful.
“Should further funding become available in the future, we would welcome nominations from stations across Britain.”