Labour MP raises Formby Train Station lift campaign in Parliamen

Bill Esterson and Catie Page

 

Labour MP Bill Esterson has elevated calls for a new lift at Formby Train Station to Parliament.

The town's MP said disabled access to train stations like Formby needed to be improved.

Speaking in the House of Commons, 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?"

Bill was told by Minister of State for Transport, Theresa Villiers, that she would look into Formby's case and write to him with her findings.

The Formby MP said he has received a growing number of complaints from people in Formby about the lack of disabled access.

Bill said: "This government needs to be made fully aware of the difficulty it is putting local authorities like Merseytravel under.

"Merseytravel was planning to install a lift at Formby to cater for disabled, elderly and passengers with push-chairs, but the slashing of funding to Merseytravel's budget means that there is no way they can afford it.

"This is an improvement to an old station which really is essential to bring it up to modern accessibility standards. It was an improvement which would have gone ahead, but which this Tory-Lib Dem brought to a dramatic halt."

Formby's Labour Councillor Catie Page contacted Merseytravel earlier in the summer to call for the improved disaabled access at the station.

In their written response following the announcement that the Tory-Lib Dem government was slashing the transport authority's budget by two-thirds, Merseytravel stated: "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."

But Cllr Page said the improved disabled access is long overdue and essential for Formby passengers and she applauded Bill Esterson for taking the issue up directly with the government.

Cllr Page said: "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 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.

"I have spoken to a number of people who attend the Dove Trust which is situated on the station car park. They all highlight the same concern - the poor disabled entrances and exits at the station. If they can't contend with the steep flights of steps, then they have to contend with a major trek over Duke Street bridge.

"This is clearly unacceptable and I would like to thank Bill Esterson for challenging the Troy-Lib Dem government on this vital matter. I eagerly await their response."

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