'˜Give us a lift' plead Warwick residents
Residents continue to grow frustrated at the wait for a lift to be installed at Warwick Station.
For years residents and councillors have been campaigning to make the rail station more accessible for those who are disabled, have push chairs, heavy luggage or bicycles.
Plans for the station include a installing a lift on the southbound platform and a ramp onto the street at the back of the building.
Resident Hilary Wilson, who has been involved in the fight to replace the 1960s ramp to the southbound platform or install a lift, said: “On November 10, 2011, Michael Campain, Chiltern Regional Development Manager, came at our request, and by chance watched as a heavily-pregnant Chiltern user with a pushchair and a toddler struggled down from platform two, to get to a hospital appointment. That was seven years ago but a Chiltern spokesperson said recently that a lift might be installed in spring 2019.
“Warwick Station is the closest to Warwick Hospital. I’ve seen people in wheelchairs stranded on the platform, naturally thinking, in this so-called age of accessibility, that getting off at Warwick Station would mean wheelchair access. In less time than we’ve been waiting, Chiltern has managed to lay a new line to Bicester Shopping Village for tourists.”
Caroline Dutton, also from Warwick, said: “Every day people are having to rely on the kindness of strangers to help them up and down the stairs. You really don’t want to render a pushchair to the trust of stranger.”
Meghan Hutchins, a mum from Leamington, recently used the station. She said: “I was taking my son to an appointment at Warwick Hospital and carried the pushchair up the stairs. If my son had been any older I would have struggled. It’s close to the hospital and there are national attractions in Warwick. Having a lift clearly needs to be made a priority and it is totally unacceptable it doesn’t have one.”
John Holland, town and county councillor for Warwick, said: “I have been campaigning for a lift at the station for 20 years. Chiltern Railways have been very supportive. In 2015 we got to the point of having a design agreed, funding in place and the project was going out to tender. Then George Osbourne (former Chancellor of the Exchequer) intervened and the project was halted and resulted in a three-year delay.
“Construction could start in April 2019. We shall just have to hope this will go ahead.
“The station is really important to our town as over 80 per cent of people using it walk to and from the station and the station is right at the heart of our transport policies.”