Disabled passengers hit out at MP tweets promising improvements to ‘discriminatory’ station
PUBLISHED: 11:52 07 February 2019 | UPDATED: 11:59 07 February 2019
Wymondham Access Group
Campaigners have hit out at politicians for their lack of action in carrying out long-awaited improvements to a train station branded “outdated and discriminatory” by disabled passengers.
Wymondham Railway Station has long attracted criticism for not providing step-free access to platform two, which serves trains travelling from Norwich to Cambridge.
Wheelchair users, parents with pushchairs, and cyclists are among those affected by the problem, with the only available exit from platform two via a step footbridge.
On January 23, a Twitter account of South Norfolk Conservative councillors tweeted that South Norfolk Council was engaged with discussions to secure construction costs of up to £336,000, with MP for Mid Norfolk George Freeman tweeting his congratulations.
An official spokesman for South Norfolk Council said it was waiting to see if a second round of pooled business rates funding would be made available before it could apply, following an unsuccessful application to the first round.
He added that discussions about what the improvements would look like would not begin until the funding had been secured.
But Wymondham wheelchair user Neil Seach said he was frustrated with the lack of action and believed the tweets were misleading.
He said: “This just keeps rumbling on with no resolution and these tweets make it appear that things are going on but there’s no substance to them.
“None of the people the issue actually affects have been kept in the loop about what they’re trying to raise funds for which is disappointing as we’ve said a number of times they need to run it by passengers.
“It’s not as simple as just building a ramp and the last thing we want is for public funds to be spent on building something that won’t work.”
The South Norfolk spokesman said once it reached the planning stage everyone would be welcome to comment and that the team understood the solution would need to address the complex needs of all passengers.
He added: “It’s in everyone’s interest that we get this right.”
Speaking on behalf of MP George Freeman, a spokesman said the politician would attend a meeting with rail companies and local landowners next week to come up with proposals and was committed to getting the work under way.