Merton campaigners will fight on for better access to two stations
By Tara O'Connor, Local Democracy Reporter
Funding for step free access at two Merton rail stations has been turned down – a big blow to campaigners who have been campaigning for it.
Yesterday (Thursday, April 4) a full list of stations that will be upgraded was announced by the Department for Transport (DfT).
But an application for funding to make Raynes Park and Motspur Park train stations accessible was turned down.
The Merton Lib Dems have been campaigning for the installation of lifts or ramps at the two stations.
Some platforms at Raynes Park and both platforms at Motspur Park can only currently be accessed via stairs.
Dundonald ward councillor, Anthony Fairclough, was one of the leaders behind the campaign.
He said: “As a local parent myself I know full well the struggles people have to go through because of the lack of a lift or ramp at Raynes Park and Motspur Park stations.
“Yet, despite our compelling case for making the stations accessible, the government has chosen to ignore the plight of local residents.”
West Barnes councillor, Eloise Bailey, said the group will continue to fight for accessibility at stations across the borough,” added Cllr Bailey.
As a result of the campaign which started last summer, South Western Railway agreed to apply for funding for the improvements with Merton Council also supporting the proposal.
The campaign also got Merton Council to commit to a review of what the council can do to help improve access at the stations.
And a meeting to discuss this will take place on April 30 – Cllr Fairclough says this is the next step of the campaign as well as applying to find out the full reasons the application was turned down this time.
Reasons for each station not being allocated funding have not yet been released, but the DfT said the 73 stations chosen to benefit from the funding were assessed against annual footfall.
They also took into account how many disabled people there are in the area as well as other factors including nearby hospitals.
A spokesman said: “Due consideration was also given to the preferences of the train operating companies and, finally, a number were chosen to ensure a fair geographical spread across the country.”
The closest station to successfully get the funding was Wandsworth Town.
The campaign group also plans on talking to London Assembly members to see if any other funding could be found for the two stations.
Pictured above are: Councillor Eloise Bailey, Coucillor Hina Bokhari and Councillor Carl Quilliam
April 5, 2019