Make Pokesdown Station Accessible
LIFTS NOW AGREED FOR POKESDOWN STATION!
New franchisee will be instructed to install lifts to be working by 2019.
Update 17 Sept
We met with our MP, local cllrs, and members of Boscombe Forum to review the study and explore what can be done to find funding. The bottom line is the quote is £1m, with 30% given as a margin for error. With some of the costs included we would expect it to be lower, but for now we are all working to this figure.
Access For All - If you didn't know about this is a fund set aside by the Lab govt to fund accessibility across UK stations. It was continued under the last Coalition govt (although at a reduced amount). This raft of funding has been allocated, and has benefited a range of stations across the UK small and large. We await news of the next budget review to see how much will be in the fund or indeed if it will continue. However...
...Tobias said he would stress the importance of this with George Osborne and we aren't the only ones to raise this. It was suggested the more people who email/write to TE will help him to add weight to the argument. He was keen for this to happen so please email or write to lobby for this fund to continue.
So get emailing! Say you believe this should continue. Just a short email is all that is required. email@example.com
Or, write to: Tobias Ellwood, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
I believe that the Access For All Fund is an important way to make transport accessible. Without it, we will have little chance of making our local station accessible to the disabled, tourists, families with buggies and many others.
Local Enterprise Partnership - Tobias was keen the station was moved onto an approved LEP list. His point was that if he can get hold of any funding they won't take it seriously without it being 'approved' and backed by the council. All agreed this made sense. However we don't believe this is the most likely source of funding. It is our belief that funding will need to address the fact this is an accessibility issue and not just an economic opportunity (although we do think there are strong economic arguments as well).
View the feasibility study to make Pokesdown Station Accessible (18MB)
Latest News (added 31 Aug 2015)
For those following the campaign: SWT have now confirmed there will be no need to fund a new feasibility study. The 'old' report can be revisited as the basis for going forward. A new study would have cost around £40k and funding would not have come from SWT. We hope to get sight of this before we meet with our MP. A number of questions still remain which will be raised with Mr Ellwood:
- Funding and how the Access For All Fund will be taken forward by this present government.
- We also need to see updates on commitments from the train companies to improve signage and the assisted travel service.
- Clarification on Pokesdown's position within any schedule of work.
Pokesdown Forum Meeting With SWT and MP
Along with local cllrs, representatives from the Coastal BID met with SWT. Due to lots of late changes it was not possible for some key people to attend*
- The issues of Pokesdown accessibility is now recognised by SWT.
- There is no further money available for any stations. However, some funding already assigned and not spent may be reallocated. We are trying to clarify if this govt will continue the 'Access for All Fund'
- SWT have requested that a feasibility study is undertaken. SWT are presently looking into whether a old study can be upgraded or whether a new study will be required. A new study will cost circa £40k. Discussions on how this could be funded are being looked at with local organisations. Hopefully this is not necessary and the scale of the cost is of course a surprise
- The assisted travel service, or free taxi to the next station for disabled passengers is rightly being reviewed across the network. There are problems elsewhere, and having to book 24 hours ahead, lack of availability at weekends highlight this scheme simply doesn't work. In fairness to SWT they recognise this and have agreed to review. SWT trains have agreed to update signage.
- New doors are being installed (although how this helps disabled passengers who can't get down the steps is unclear).
- Sponsorship and private funding of the station was discussed. The Echo have focused on this with AFCB. Further meetings with AFCB are planned.
- Timescales. We hope to have answers back on feasibility study and the revised taxi scheme in the next 2-3 weeks.
*28th July Updated- It's been brought to my attention that due to the late scheduling and very late changes (a time was not provided until 48 hrs prior and then changed the night before) it was not possible for any member of the Forum to attend.
The Business Case
You can now view the business case that was presented to Minister For Transport:
The Case For Pokesdown
Please, add you support by signing the petition
Pokesdown Forum are campaigning to make Pokesdown station accessible. We already have support from a wide range of groups including Bournemouth Chamber of Commerce, Southbourne Business Association and Pokesdown Children's Centre.
It's been over 30 years since lifts were in use. We are asking that this situation be rectified so everyone can use this station - disabled, families with buggies, anyone with luggage etc.
Did you know SWT provide a free taxi for any disabled passenger wanting to travel to or from Pokesdown Station? Well, probably not as the information is practically hidden if not impossible to find. Also it has to be booked 24 hours in advance, which for most users is pointless. The whole situation is unacceptable really, but there is some good news. SWT have agreed the information and signage is not good enough and will be improving this. In the meantime do make use of the taxi, even if it is one big faff compared to lifts. Update: 9 months after posting this SWT have still not updated this!
The first press release about the launch is available to download press release.