18th Jul, 2019

Network Rail under fire after plans halted for disabled access lifts at Barnt Green Station

NETWORK RAIL has come under fire after announcing the plans to install lifts at Barnt Green Station to provide full disabled access have been put on hold because of a lack of funding.

Bromsgrove Rail User Group (BRUG) said Network Rail had breached its legal obligation under the 1996 Disability Discrimination Act.

BRUG chairman Mike Ponsonby said: “I’m shocked to hear that Network Rail has cancelled the installation of the disabled lifts at Barnt Green Station.

“The 1996 Disability Discrimination Act made it a legal obligation for all service providers to make provision for disabled people to have complete access to all buses, trains and ships.”

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “In the short-term, the Bromsgrove electrification project cannot bear the costs to create fully compliant level access throughout all platforms at Barnt Green station.

“There are over 10million people in Great Britain with a disability and the Department for Transport, Network Rail and train companies are working to improve their access to work and leisure.

“This includes improving access to the UK’s railway stations.”

She added it was a question of ‘when, not ‘whether’.

“It is the intention to create a project to provide a fully accessible station at Barnt Green, most likely to be in the period between 2019 and 2024.

“In the meantime, from May, for the first time a new regular service from Barnt Green to Birmingham will be accessible without needing to use the station footbridge.

“Following completion of the Bromsgrove electrification project, Bromsgrove to Birmingham trains will call every hour at Platform 1, which is a level access platform off Fiery Hill Road.”

Coun McDonald, who had campaigned hard to get the lifts installed, said he and local residents had been let down by Network Rail which had reneged on the agreement and the situation was ‘completely unacceptable’.

“Network Rail would have been aware of the costs from day one and it has deliberately misled the public.”

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