Labour MP Bill Esterson says Tory-led Government is letting peop

Catie Page and Bill Esterson MP

 

Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson said the Tory-led Government was refusing to green-light a much-needed lift at Formby Train Station.

Bill has been campaigning in Parliament for the lift, which he says is crucial for improving disabled access to the station.

The MP even took the call for improved disabled access to Parliament after he, Formby's Labour Councillors, Catie Page, Peter Maguire and Nina Killen and Formby Labour Action Team's Tom Donnelly received growing numbers of complaints from Formby people wanting action.

Speaking in the House of Commons earlier this year, Bill said: "Elderly and disabled constituents of mine would like to access the rail network but are prevented from doing so by the poor station facilities. Merseytravel has had a budget cut of two-thirds, which has caused delays to the installation of a lift at Formby station, to give one example. That lift is vital if elderly and disabled people are to be able to travel on the rail network at all. Will the Minister consider reversing that cut?"

The Tory Transport Minister wrote to Bill explaining why, according to the Tory-led government, Formby doesn't need any disabled access improvements.

The Minister wrote: "Formby does of course have step-free access into the ticket office although passengers do then have to access the platforms via the public road. Although not ideal, this represents better access than the stations included in the main Access for All programme."

Bill Esterson slammed the Minister's response as an insult to the people of Formby

Bill said: "This response showed that the Minister has clearly never been to Formby to see just how difficult it can be for disabled passengers at the station.

"While accepting that the station is 'not ideal', the Tory Minister says passengers have access to the ticket office from the public road - which is at the top of the bridge which involves a steep hill and a long walk.

"This is clearly not good enough and the many people who have complained about disabled access to Formby Train Station do not think this is good enough either.

"That is why I have continued to make the case for disabled access improvements in Parliament."

Bill has also raised the issue with Merseytravel.

Bill said: "I meet regularly with Merseytravel chairman Cllr Liam Robinson and I have raised the issue of the lift at Formby station. But while he is sympathetic, he has told me that the Government's savage cuts to Merseytravel's budget makes it impossible.

"I regularly use Formby station and I know all too well how difficult it can be for disabled passengers to make their way to the ticket office and then down to the platform.

"Regardless of the letter from the Tory-led government Minister, improved disabled access is urgently needed at Formby Train Station. It's been something which the community has been calling for for a long time, but which has never come to fruition.

"But this isn't the end of the matter. I have continued to lobby the government to urge them to release funds for this much needed improvement.

"As well as making Formby station disabled-friendly for the local community, it needs to be disabled-friendly for the visitors we want in Formby. We want Formby station to the gateway into Formby for visitors, instead of them using their cars and blocking the roads.

"It is these visitors who could be a boost for local businesses and our local economy.

"These are the points I continually make to the government and I will continue to make these points until the government finally sees sense."

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