In a letter to the Stoke Sentinel, Phil Bennion MEP has highlighted the growing campaign to improve access at Kidsgrove station, which has seen a boom in passenger numbers but platforms can only be reached by a steep footbridge with stairs.
Further to recent articles about the problems of access at Kidsgrove station, I would like to highlight the extent of cross-party support for the campaign to improve the facilities at this increasingly important transport link.
Kidsgrove, which I have visited with local councillors and transport campaigners, is one of the fastest growing railheads in the Midlands, if not nationally, with annual usage rocketing from 32,000 in 2005/6 to 158,000 in the most recent figures.
As such, the continued lack of wheelchair access to platforms is completely unacceptable. A growing number of passengers also alight at this station to change trains, sometimes without a convenient alternative route. This is extremely difficult for those with disabilities if they have to use the steep stairs on the footbridge.
I have recently written to the Secretary of State for Transport in support of recent attempts to unblock the logjam which so far has frustrated attempts to resolve this problem and to identify where progress can be made.
As well as being MEP for Staffordshire, rail falls under my brief as a substitute member of the European Parliament’s Transport and Tourism Committee. The case for installing a ramp at this increasingly busy station so people with mobility impairments can access all platforms is very clear and I shall continue to make the case for this change at every level.
I hope increased pressure from local representatives and transport campaigners will ensure that this glaring anomaly in our county's transport infrastructure can be put right as soon as possible.
Phil Bennion MEP
Liberal Democrat Member of the European Parliament for the West Midlands region.