Boost for disabled people after funds are found for a ramp at rail station

TWO major projects to improve access to services and amenities for disabled people in Backwell are now underway.

After years of campaigning for a ramp at Nailsea and Backwell Station, work on the project has finally begun.

A design for the ramp has already been drawn up and once it has been approved by North Somerset Council, work can begin.

There is currently no ramp on the south platform, so disabled passengers have to warn train operators a day before they are due to travel to get assistance onto the train and get off at Bristol on their return journey to catch a taxi.

Members of Backwell Access Group first appealed for a ramp in 2008 and the Government finally pledged �1million towards the project in December last year.

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A First Great Western spokesman said: “Good progress is being made on detailed designs.

“This is a joint project with North Somerset Council and Network Rail. They will need to review the design and confirm they are structurally sound and within budget.

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“We are on target for this to happen in early November. Once the designs are agreed we will be able to set a firm timetable for work to start.”

Work has also begun on building two thirds of the path around Backwell Lake to enable people with wheelchairs and pushchairs to access the beauty spot.

The Big Lottery Fund has given �50,000 towards the project, which will pay for 500 metres of path on the north side of the tourist attraction, with a viewing platform.

Organisers are now trying to raise an extra �30,000 to pay for a path from the car park to a viewing platform on the southern side of the lake.

Alison Morgan from Backwell Access Group, said: “We are thrilled that work has started. It’s so good to see all our work coming to fruition and we can’t wait to use the new path.”

The northern section of the path is due to be completed by the end of November.

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