Station is in line to get disabled access

PUBLISHED: 15:14 22 November 2006 | UPDATED: 10:01 31 May 2010

Right on track of disabled access

Right on track of disabled access

DISABLED groups have welcomed the news that Audley End Station is to receive major improvements to its disabled access. Representatives from the Uttlesford Area Access Group and the Saffron Walden St Raphael Club for the Physically Disabled have both said

DISABLED groups have welcomed the news that Audley End Station is to receive major improvements to its disabled access.

Representatives from the Uttlesford Area Access Group and the Saffron Walden St Raphael Club for the Physically Disabled have both said that the long-awaited improvements should make a big difference for disabled people using the railway.

Sir Alan Haselhurst, MP for Saffron Walden, has successfully pushed for Audley End to be included on the next list of stations earmarked to have work carried out to improve disabled access. The programme is set to happen between 2009 and 2011.

Sir Alan said: "Even though a wait is involved it is better to be in the programme than out.

"Disabled people locally know that their needs will be addressed."

The St Raphael Club for the Physically Disabled said that the improvements would make it much easier for disabled people to travel beyond the immediate area.

Club secretary, Betty Thompson, said: "It will be wonderful to have improved access to the station.

"Several of our members are unable to get out of their wheelchairs and I'm sure this will be a great help for them.

"In days gone by you used to be able to get a taxi round to the other side of the station and access the other platform that way, but that's no longer possible.

"This will make a real difference."

Accessing the northbound platform is currently only possible by using a footbridge, making the journey impossible for anyone with a disability, pram or substantial luggage.

Railway operator Network Rail also welcomed the news. It said: "This funding will allow us to provide an obstacle free, accessible route from the station entrance to and between all platforms.

"We will continue to work with the Department for Transport and "one" to establish what accessibility improvements are needed at the station and to draw up a detailed programme of works."

Uttlesford Area Access Group public relations officer Ernie Spencer said he was "delighted" by the news.

He said: "We've been working for years to try and get access improved and this is a superb result."

It is not currently clear what form the improvements will take or how much they will cost, but the money will come from a £370million kitty allocated for station improvements under the Government's Railways for All programme.

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