Anger over more delays to Nailsea and Backwell Railway station improvements
PUBLISHED: 08:00 27 October 2017
Campaigners who have been pushing for better access at Nailsea and Backwell Railway Station feel ‘let down’ following more delays to the project.
Great Western Railway (GWR) is carrying out a feasibility study to see whether lifts can be installed at the station, but the report is a month overdue.
The train operator cancelled plans to install ramps at the railway station last year due to fears it could destabilise the embankment.
At the time, GWR stressed lifts could solve the access problem for disabled people and passengers with pushchairs and bicycles.
However, GWR has upset campaigners by failing to attend a meeting organised by North Somerset Council to discuss public transport issues for disabled people.
Alison Morgan, who has been campaigning for a ramp at the railway station since 2008, said: “Disabled residents were invited to submit questions in advance in order to give the transport officials chance to prepare their responses.
“I had submitted a question asking for an update on the feasibility study which should have been completed by September 6 and GWR had promised to inform me of the outcome.
“Needless to say, no representative was available to attend from GWR.
“This is not the only occasion when GWR has let disabled people down. Representatives from GWR have been invited to several meetings of North Somerset Disability Access Group in the past and have failed to attend.
“The disabled members of the group go to a lot of trouble and inconvenience to attend the meetings and face a variety of transport issues related to their individual needs and circumstances.
“Is it too much to ask for GWR to respect this and make the effort to meet with us, or at least respond to our questions?”
A £1.23million Government grant was allocated to install a ramp in 2011, but the start date for work was delayed due to urgent maintenance work and the funding deadline was missed.
The train operator secured funding for the scheme again in 2015, but the work was delayed just as it was due to start in 2016.
In response to the most recent delays, a GWR spokesman said: “We are making progress at Nailsea and Backwell and have now appointed contractors to undertake the specialist work needed on the lift design/siting and costs.
“Once we have their report, which should be about another eight to 12 weeks, we will then be able to meet with stakeholders to discuss its findings.”