Battle station a step closer to improved access

Twenty-two stations in the Southeastern area have been shortlisted for an Access for All grant, including Battle
Twenty-two stations in the Southeastern area have been shortlisted for an Access for All grant, including Battle

Battle Station is one step closer to much-needed improvements to make it more accessible to rail passengers.

The station has made a 22-strong shortlist of stations to be considered by the government for funding under its £300m Access for All scheme, in the industry’s next five-year financial period.

The scheme delivers funding for stations without step-free access, enabling the installation of infrastructure improvements such as new lifts and footbridges.

Accessibility improvements benefit everyone, from people with health conditions or impairments, people with children, heavy luggage or shopping and some older people.

Southeastern and Network Rail nominated the list of stations following a survey, with ran throughout September, attracting over 8,000 responses and nominations for 107 stations - the largest exercise of its kind ever undertaken on the railway in south east London, Kent and East Sussex.

Southeastern and Network Rail put forward the list of stations which they feel have the strongest case for funding, which also includes High Brooms in Kent and Chislehurst in south east London. Battle is the only station in East Sussex to make the shortlist.

The Department for Transport will consider the list, and other nominations from other operators across the country, together with individual submissions from stakeholders and passengers, before making a final decision in April 2019.

Justin Ryan, Southeastern’s accessibility manager said: “We always want to do more to improve the journey experience for our passengers, and have considered the huge number of nominations submitted for stations to be considered for accessibility improvements.

“We’ve carefully judged those submissions to make a final list that has now been sent to Government. Factors such as the strength of local feedback and the location of stations in relation to other, step-free stations in the area have all been considered.”

“Ultimately, because it involves spending public money, it is Government that makes the final decision, based in part on Southeastern and Network Rail’s recommendations, and we will find out what the Department for Transport has decided in due course.”

Paul Coleman, Network Rail’s Access for All lead, said: “The Access for All programme is an exciting opportunity for passengers to have an input into nominating their station for this all-inclusive scheme.

“We have worked with Southeastern to identify these stations and this is reflected in our final submission.

“Work at Plumstead, Shortlands and Canterbury East stations will be completed later in 2019.

“These are in addition to the stations that have already had access for all schemes completed since the government funding was made available. Stations previously nominated but where schemes did not progress for whatever reason, have been included in the current nomination process and will be considered by the DfT again.”