Access bid is a step in the right direction

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Access for the disabled at Biggleswade station may have moved a step closer.

Campaigners from Bedfordshire Rail Access Network’s (BRAN) campaign for step-free access, met with Alistair Burt MP and representatives from Network Rail, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), Central Bedfordshire and Biggleswade Town councillors last Friday in Biggleswade.

Julian Vaughan, from the campaign group said: “We were shown four options for step-free access to Biggleswade station and we are cautiously optimistic that the bid for funding for long overdue improvements at Biggleswade station will be successful.

“It is clear that our campaign, which has received considerable media coverage over the last year, raised the profile of Biggleswade station and we will continue to work with the various agencies to ensure the improvements take place. We would encourage disability groups in the area to liaise with us to ensure that their input is included in the bids.”

The campaign which prompted a visit from Shadow Transport Ministers in January along with Biggleswade station being mentioned in the European Parliament, has helped the online petition achieve more than 11,000 signatures.

Mr Vaughan added: “While we are hopeful for Biggleswade there will still be many stations across Bedfordshire, such as Arlesey and Sandy, which will remain largely inaccessible to disabled and elderly people and those with young children. Whatever success we help to achieve the campaign will continue. Equal access must be seen as a right, not a favour and disabled people must be involved from the beginning in any improvements.”

Bids for the ‘Access for All’ funding must be submitted by GTR to the Department for Transport by November 16, with successful bids being announced in April 2019.

> You can contact the Bedfordshire Rail Access Network campaign at: bedsrailaccessnetwork@gmail.com