Helen Morgan tells Government to end delay over Whitchurch Station access

29 Apr 2024
Helen Morgan campaigning at Whitchurch Station

MP Helen Morgan has urged the Government to stop stalling and tell Whitchurch residents when their railway station will get step-free access.

The North Shropshire MP has long been pushing for improvements at the station and was told last year that a Government decision on the scheme would be made in 2023. However, the Department for Transport is still refusing to say when an announcement will be made.

Currently, Platform 1 (to Shrewsbury) at the Station can only be reached via a footbridge with 44 steps. This means that disabled residents and those with poor mobility cannot head southbound or exit the station from trains heading north into Whitchurch.

The MP has previously asked questions in the Commons, petitioned station users on the platform to demand improvements, and consistently urged the Government to get on with delivering the scheme.

Helen’s latest intervention comes three years after funding for the current phase of development was approved and designs for new lifts have now been drawn up. Network Rail has designated the scheme as ‘high priority’ meaning that all that remains is for the Government to approve funding under the Access for All Scheme.

The latest written statement from Minister Huw Merriman, in reply to a Parliamentary question from Helen Morgan, simply says that an announcement will be ‘in due course’. The Minister has also failed to elaborate further in correspondence with Helen.

In her letter to the Minister, Helen says that Whitchurch residents ‘are demanding answers’. She has urged the Department to get a move on with making access free and fair for all residents using either platform.

Helen Morgan, Liberal Democrat MP for North Shropshire, said, “It is wrong that so many passengers are excluded from using Whitchurch Station and it is wrong that the Government is taking so long to make a decision. This scheme must be a top priority.

“Ministers need to stop stalling and urgently approve the proposals.

“I have written to the Rail Minister and told him that Whitchurch residents are demanding answers. Public transport in the area is already very poor and the town has had a particularly tough time of it recently with the shutting of the Civic Centre. Investment in the station would provide some much-needed good news and should be a simple decision for the Minister.

“The designs are done, Network Rail says it is a high priority, and the Access for All scheme has a very clear remit – the only people who aren’t on board seem to be the Government.”

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