The Petition of Friends of Heaton Chapel train station,
Declares that 619,506 passengers purchase tickets at Heaton Chapel train station every year; further declares that there is currently no disabled access to the train station; further declares that Heaton Chapel train station is not compliant with national legislation; and further declares that accessibility for disabled people at Heaton Chapel train station must be improved and barriers to transport removed in accordance with the Department for Transport’s March 2006 “Railways for All” strategy.
The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Department for Transport to work in conjunction with Transport for Greater Manchester, Stockport MBC, Network Rail and Northern Rail to undertake an urgent feasibility study setting out a business case to support the provision of new disabled access facilities and further requests that the House urges the Department for Transport to give greater priority to improve Greater Heaton Chapel train station over all other less well used stations in Greater Manchester.
And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Ann Coffey, Official Report, 5 December 2013; Vol. 571, c. 1191.]
Observations from the Secretary of State for Transport:
The Department continues to strongly support improvements to access for disabled passengers at UK railway stations.
We have therefore continued with the £370 million Access for All programme, launched in 2006 as part of the Railways for All Strategy, which will provide an accessible route at more than 150 stations by 2015. One hundred and five of these projects are now complete and to date over 1,100 stations have also received smaller scale access improvements. To build on this success we have made £100 million available to extend the programme from its scheduled close in 2015 until 2019.
Stations are selected for this funding based on their annual footfall, weighted by the incidence of disability in the area and taking into account other factors such as proximity to local hospitals or the availability of third-party funding. Around a third will also be selected to ensure a fair geographical spread across the country.
We are also keen to reflect the preferences of the industry in selecting stations. The train operating companies, in consultation with local transport authorities and Network Rail, were therefore asked to nominate stations for the extended programme by 15 November 2013. Although 277 stations were nominated, Heaton Chapel was not included. It will therefore not be considered for the Access for All programme before 2019.
In the meantime Northern Rail meet their obligations under the Equality Act 2010 by making reasonable adjustments to ensure disabled access to their services. For example, for those who cannot use the steep ramps to the platforms at Heaton Chapel can request a free taxi to the next station that they are able to access.