Labour Action Team fights on as plans for a lift at Formby Train

Catie Page and Ben Bentley

 

Formby Labour Action Team has this week received notification that there is no funding available for a lift at Formby Train Station because of Conservative-Liberal Democrat cuts to Merseytravel's budget.

Ravenmeols' Labour Councillor Catie Page wrote to Merseytravel calling on them to improve disabled access at the station.

At present disabled passengers have to gain access to and from the ticket office and the platforms via the footway of Formby Bridge.

But while Merseytravel say they are "keen" to improve disabled access, there is currently no available funding.

In a letter to Cllr Page, Merseytravel wrote: "There is no locally available funding for major works such as lifts at stations at the present time. However we are keen to take advantage, when they arise to improve passenger facilities at railway stations, and elsewhere on the public transport network.

"Priority for work to make stations step free has to be balanced between stations where there is currently no step free access at all and those with limited step free access. Also considered is the passenger usage at the station (footfall), the proximity of the station to other stations that already have the facilities and the cost of providing the facilities."

Cllr Catie Page said she was disappointed the lift plans wouldn't get off the ground because of the huge cuts Merseytravel have received from the Tory-Lib Dem government.

Cllr Page said: "Improved disabled access is urgently needed at Formby Train Station. It's been something which the community have been calling for for a long time, but which has never come to fruition.

"But these plans are even less likely now because of the massive cuts which Merseytravel has received to its budget, which means that costly improvements which they would like to carry out on our station are even less likely to get the go-ahead."

Cllr Page said Formby's Conservative representative on the Merseytravel board had been "more than a little premature" in his celebrations last week.

Cllr Page said: "A Draft Merseytravel Station Plan report recently went out from Merseytravel to all stakeholders giving details of projects which they would like to get the go-ahead if funding were available.

"Formby Train Station lift was one of those projects because of the work the Labour Party in Sefton has done to keep that scheme on the table over a period of years.

"For our Conservative councillor now to swoop in and try to claim credit for a project which isn't going to go ahead anyway because of his own government's funding cuts is concerning.

"Perhaps he would better spending his time calling on his party leader David Cameron to relax the cuts to Merseytravel so we can finally get our lift.

"In the meantime, I and my Labour Action Team colleagues will work with Merseytravel to try to find alternative sources of funding so that we can finally get the disabled access at Formby Train Station which is clearly so vitally needed."