Funding refusal for step-free access to Raynes Park and Motspur Park stations ‘a real kick in the teeth’
Merton Liberal Democrats expressed their anger after the Department for Transport denied funding earlier this month for step-free access at two south west London train stations.
Raynes Park and Motspur Park have been overlooked for funding after a completive process following an application by train operator South Western Railway. However 73 other stations across the country were chosen.
In a statement Councillor Eloise Bailey said “This is a real kick in the teeth for our community, which has had to put up with the lack of accessible stations for far too long.”
She added: “But this is not the end of the story. We will continue to lead the campaign for accessible access at Raynes Park, Motspur Park and all stations across the borough.”
In a statement the Department for Transport said that the selected stations were chosen on the basis of footfall, incidents of disability in the local area while taking account of other factors such as nearby hospitals, availability of third party funding and geographical spread.
Currently both platforms at Motspur Park and some platforms at Raynes Park can only be accessed by stairs making them virtually inaccessible for those with mobility issues.
Lib Dem Councillors Eloise Bailey who represents West Barnes and Antony Fairclough councillor for Dundonald have been campaigning since last summer for funding.
As a result of their campaign South Western Railway applied for money to improve access at the stations and Merton Council support the proposed improvement works.
Councillor Antony Fairclough said he was disappointed and that as a parent he appreciates the struggles that local residents have to go through to because of a lack of lift and ramp facilities at either station.
He also explained that the preliminary responses indicated that footfall had been the main reason for the rejection of funding.
He said: “The information they’ve given us so far is that it’s based on footfall, but Raynes Park station is one of the busiest in this part of London with four and a half million entrances and exits.”
Councillor Fairclough was also critical of Wimbledon’s Conservative MP Stephen Hammond.
He said: “Stephen Hammond claims that he did some work on this, well he’s a government minister he needs to exercise what influence he has.
“We haven’t seen anything from him on this and nothing about the fact that the money hasn’t been granted. We think it’s about time he put his head above the parapet.”
In a statement Stephen Hammond confirmed his support for the project.
He said: “I was very disappointed to learn that Raynes Park and Motspur Park stations were not chosen to receive accessibility funding from the Department for Transport.
“Last year I nominated both stations, highlighting the problems wheelchair users and those with prams have in accessing the stations, which are both in residential areas.”