End of the line for station stairs causing disabled major problems

End of the line for station stairs causing disabled major problems
Improvements at High Brooms will give better access for disabled people

For decades, disabled passengers have been unable to enter or exit platform two at the station, which is used by about 1.2 million people a year, because there is no lift or ramp to the southbound platform.

Those travelling from London and unable to manage the stairs either have to continue on to Tunbridge Wells and get a bus or taxi, or return on the other line to disembark at platform one.

Now, thanks to a Department of Transport award of £785,000 plus a top up from the Borough Council, the long-awaited improvements are to be made. It is not yet known when work will start or what impact it might have on passengers.

The news follows lobbying from the Borough Council, Network Rail, the District Rail Travellers’ Association, Southborough Town Council, Kent County Council, and Southeastern and Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark.

Council Leader Alan McDermott informed Councillors of the good news at last week’s Full Council Meeting.

He said: “This is very good news for disabled users of High Brooms Station. “Improving access at the station is something we and other local stakeholders have been pushing for some time.

And it’s not just disabled passengers who will benefit – it is parents struggling with buggies, passengers with suitcases, passengers who find the existing steps very difficult to negotiate, as well as those wishing to take their bike on the train.”

He added that confirmation of funding means that a plan and timescales can be developed, but did not say when works will begin.

The central Government grant will not be enough to pay for all the works to the station to make it disabled friendly.

It is just one out of four stations in the South East to get approval – 126 out of the area’s 240 stations were deemed eligible for the Department of Transport’s Access for All Mid-Tier Funding programme, but 122 applications were denied.

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