Tory-Lib Dem Government Minister rejects Labour MP's calls for disabled access improvements at Formby Train Station

 Catie Page and Bill Esterson



Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson said the Tory-Lib Dem government has proven it is "off the rails" after they confirmed that they will not be giving the greenlight to improving disabled access to Formby Train Station.


Bill took the call for improved disabled access to Parliament after he, Ravenmeols Labour Councillor Catie Page and the Formby Labour Action Team received growing numbers of complaints from Formby people wanting action.


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?"


Transport Minister Theresa Villiers has now written to Bill explaining why, according to the Tory-Lib Dem 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 said the Minister's response was an insult.


Bill said: "Ms Villiers has clearly never been to Formby to see for herself how difficult it can be for disabled passengers at the station.


"She says 'although not ideal' 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.


"I will continue to make the case for disabled access improvements in Parliament."


Peter Maguire from the Formby Labour Action Team, said this was a big issue for many people in Formby.


Peter said: "Living in Formby I use the station a lot and I know all too well how difficult it can be for disabled passengers to make their way to the tickets office and then down to the platform.


"Regardless of the letter from the 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."