Warwick station work set to go ahead

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Disabled access work is set to go ahead at Warwick railway station after an anxious wait following an announcement funding could be axed.

The planned lifts and ramps were put at risk after the revelation vital government funding could be cut – or held until 2020.

The news came in May from the Department for Transport that not all of the 42 projects approved for a share of the Access for All fund could go ahead in time.

The fund was putting £370m of investment into stations across the country.

The scheme at Warwick involves implementing step-free access between platforms one and two and would include the installation of a lift down to the subway and a ramp onto the street at the back of the building.

Warwick Councillor John Holland said: “At the moment wheelchair users or parents with prams have no option but to struggle up and down the steep steps to access the southbound platform. This is an important project from an equality and a commercial point of view.”

It has now been announced that the station improvements for disabled access will go ahead but it is thought that the work will not take place until 2018/19.

When the project was under threat MP Chris White, MP held a meeting with the previous Rail Minister, Claire Perry MP, and wrote to the Government to call for the Warwick upgrade to go ahead.

The new report from Sir Peter Hendy on the Network Rail enhancement portfolio has recommended deferring a proportion of the work nationally to beyond 2019, but his update is a major boost Warwick and its station.

Mr White will be meeting the new Rail Minister, Paul Maynard MP, next week to discuss the project, and to also see whether the project for Warwick station can be brought forward.

Mr White said: “I am pleased that the Government has backed the improvement works at Warwick station. Improving access for people with disabilities locally is absolutely vital and the transport network is integral to that.

“As a major access route into the county town it is important that the station is as accessible as possible.”