The lack of disabled access at Lichfield Trent Valley is “a serious concern” according to Staffordshire County Council.
The news comes in the wake of Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant’s battle for better facilities at the station. Currently passengers must climb a flight of steps to access two of the three platforms.
But despite his meetings with train operator London Midland and his Parliamentary Question on the matter it appears there is no short term solution to the problem.
And in a letter to Mr Fabricant, Dominic Davidson, Transport Projects Manager at Staffordshire County Council said:
“The lack of accessibility at Lichfield Trent Valley station is a serious concern, particularly now that additional train services are calling on the Trent Valley route. The Council has taken every opportunity to highlight to the Department of Transport, Network Rail, and London Midland that improvements to accessibility need to be made at Lichfield Trent Valley.
“Significant investment is required at the station if it is to be made fully accessible. For instance, installation of lifts would cost several hundred thousand pounds. The Council does work closely with the rail industry to bring about station improvements wherever possible. However, the scale and nature of works needed at Lichfield Trent Valley require the lead to be taken by the rail industry.”
Mr Fabricant held a meeting earlier this week with London Midland’s managing director Steve Banaghan.
Following the meeting London Midland told the Lichfield MP:
“London Midland is exploring options with the local authority to redevelop the whole site to improve station facilities, provide additional car parking and if possible, provide step free access to all platforms.
“Other improvements to the facilities at the station which London Midland is financing and managing include a new Ticket Vending Machine (installed earlier this year), refurbishment of the toilets, installation of a waiting shelter and re-signage. We are installing passenger information points, an automatic public address system and electric information screens. This programme of works is due to be completed in the summer.
“The most difficult obstacle to this is the fact that not all of the land required for the scheme is in railway or council ownership and therefore negotiations about land acquisition with the land owners are taking time to progress and could prove to be prohibitively costly.”
The news that an upgrade of access facilities at Lichfield Trent Valley is not in immediate sight has disappointed Mr Fabricant.
He told The Lichfield Blog:
“It seems that access at Lichfield Trent Valley other than by steps is not going to happen in the foreseeable future. This is particularly disappointing given all the initiatives for the disabled announced by New Labour in 1998 and 1999. These pledges all now seem forgotten.
Nevertheless, there will be some improvements at LTV and I for one welcome them. Meanwhile I will continue to keep up the pressure for disabled access too.”