Campaigners hopeful after plea for better access at village station

08:35 19 June 2014

Cllr Susan Van de Ven, district cllr Philippa Hart, Janet Cottenden with Anna 2 and Martha 1

Cllr Susan Van de Ven, district cllr Philippa Hart, Janet Cottenden with Anna 2 and Martha 1

Archant

Campaigners are hopeful much-needed access for wheelchairs and buggies will be installed at a village station after a meeting with rail bosses.

Campaigners are hopeful much-needed disabled access will be installed at a village station after a meeting with rail bosses.

Network Rail recently made changes to pedestrian access at Shepreth Station, including the removal of the station’s ramp. This has not yet been replaced.

A meeting took place at the station on Tuesday involving Marcus Jones, Network Rail’s regional manager, and representatives of the Meldreth Foxton and Shepreth Rail User Group, who have been asking for the ramp to be restored.

Cllr Susan van de Ven, who chairs the group, said: “We are pleased to report that a high quality disabled access ramp will be installed from the London-bound platform to the car park in the near future. This will lead people to Station Road and a safe crossing point over the tracks to the Cambridge-bound platform. We were not able to get a specific work date but the aspiration is to have this done sometime over the summer.

“We feel confident that Network Rail understands the local view that full accessibility needs to be restored to the station as soon as possible. While previous accessibility was not Disability Discrimination Act compliant, it was still, in practice, much better than nothing at all.”

The Rail User Group had called for access changes at the station to prevent pedestrians from crossing the tracks when level crossing barriers are down. However, Cllr van de Ven said the results of the work, which was carried out earlier this month, had been mixed.

She said: “We were pleased when Network Rail first outlined its proposed modification to the station layout, which consisted of a path taking pedestrians round the back of the station building, with a ramp in place of the small flight of steps. However, the modifications that have now been implemented are quite different.

“A significant area of greenery adjacent to the car park has been tarmacked, without any significant benefit and adding unnecessary extra expense. We are perplexed that a derelict and dangerous small structure has been left in place and is no longer fenced off as before.”

She added that the Rail User Group would continue to campaign for full automatic barriers at the crossing near the station to further deter people from taking risks.

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