I can announce that Kidsgrove Railway Station has been included in the next tranche of access for all funding. Campaigners have fought for years for the station to be considered for a government grant. As it stands, people with disabilities cannot get across the footbridge due to 3 flights of steps. Not only does the current bridge affect the disabled, but also people with pushchairs and the elderly. It is estimated that the cost of replacing the bridge with a ramped bridge is in the region of at least £3 Million. This is some of the biggest investment Kidsgrove has seen in a very long time and is welcomed by many people in the local community. Joan Walley MP has fought a long battle with the department of transport in parliament and finally the work has paid off. Last year the community pulled together, signed petitions and wrote letters to Transport ministers. Joan Walley, Jon Honeysett MBE, Councillors, the friends of Kidsgrove Station and key local figures should be thanked for all of their hard work to make this dream a reality.
In an email to campaigners and supporters, Joan wrote:
I am delighted to be able to tell you that all our efforts to campaign for disabled access at Kidsgrove Railway Station have been successful- the Department for Transport have today announced that Kidsgrove has been included in the next tranche of Access for All funding!
This wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t put together such a strong campaign and I want to thank you for all your efforts on this. I believe this could be truly transformational for the town. We must now get on with the planning stage so that this bridge is built as soon as possible and we must also work to get integrated bus services in the town too.
I will be organising a follow up meeting to take forward our plans and I will let you know about this asap.
Up until this point I have remained quiet on who I will be supporting to be the next Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Stoke-on-Trent North. As many people will be aware I am an active member of the Labour Party and I believe in what the party stands for. As a member of the CLP Executive Committee I decided not to put myself forward to be on the Selection Committee because I want to back a candidate from the start. Stoke North’s selection process needs to be professional and transparent. Therefore I can announce I am endorsing Ruth Smeeth to be our PPC.
I have been aware of Ruth for quite some time. She has been known to attend many events and Labour campaign days in Stoke, way before Joan announced her retirement. A lot of us believed Joan would do at least another term. Ruth’s background as a Hope Not Hate co-ordinator and her fight against fascism really does inspire me and others. Her experience in this area can definitely be put into practice to protect the City and Borough from the BNP and extreme elements of UKIP.
Ruth Smeeth has been the perfect campaigner and most definitely inspires people to get out there and speak to people on the doorstep. That is what we are about after all, putting people first and listening. I joined the campaign trail in the Baddely, Milton and Norton by-election to see Ruth working really hard with our candidate. She lit up my day on the doorstep, a real people person and able to relate to working class folk on the doorstep. Ruth has attended numerous campaign days in Kidsgrove and isn’t afraid of hard work.
It was only recently that I was on a training course in Manchester and I met members of the Labour Party from Burton. Ruth was mentioned in the conversations and those people speaking about her didn’t have a bad word to say. They told me how lucky the people of Stoke North would be if Ruth put herself forward.
The day Joan Walley announced her retirement I felt totally devastated. Joan has been one of the most dedicated MP’s I have ever met and she always puts her constituents first. She never gives up the fight against social injustice. Joan is a true friend of mine and I have learnt so much from this respectable lady. After doing a lot of thinking, I had no choice but to endorse Ruth who I believe will follow in Joan’s footsteps and do a really good job. Ruth is young, vibrant and will bring a fresh approach to politics that this country so desperately needs. She is not a candidate being shipped in from London, something I hope we never see happen again.
So good luck to all of the candidates putting themselves forward, but I have my fingers, legs and toes crossed for Ruth.
You can find out more about Ruth and her endorsers at: http://www.ruthsmeeth.org.uk
Joan walley MP has written to organisations and groups in the Kidsgrove area to ask for support on the fight for disabled access at Kidsgrove Railway Station. For years residents in wheel chairs, elderly people and mums/dads with prams have been put off using the local train station because access to the platforms are only possible via the footbridge which includes flights of steps. A campaign to lobby the Government for funding is vital to support everyone in our community wishing to use public transport. A ramp or even lifts could be possible if we are successful in securing the cash we need to make our station fair for all.
See the letter from Joan:
I am writing in regard to the urgent need for access improvements to Kidsgrove Railway Station.
I am sure you will agree that Kidsgrove Railway Station is vital to the continued success of the town and I was delighted that the work of local volunteers was recognised when Kidsgrove won the Best Small Station Award in 2011.
However, it remains the case that services from platforms 2, 3 and 4 (to Manchester, Derby, London and Crewe) cannot be accessed by disabled, elderly, physically impaired or passengers with pushchairs as the only access to these platforms is via a steep staircase and bridge. We urgently need a DDA compliant footbridge that gives access to all the station’s platforms.
I am working hard with Staffordshire County Council, Newcastle Borough Council, Kidsgrove Town Council and others to make a strong case to the Government that funding is urgently required to a footbridge that gives access to all the station’s platforms to all passengers. In order to make a strong case I am looking to gain the support of as many local people and organisations as possible to demonstrate to the Government how much it is supported locally.
I would therefore be very grateful if you could provide me a short letter stating why you support the bid for a new footbridge and how this might benefit the town etc. I stress that this does not need to be very long but it will be helpful in persuading the Government to provide the funding that we urgently need.
I very much look forward to hearing from you and I will of course keep you updated with progress.
All supporting letters are to be sent to: Joan Walley MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA or follow the link at the top of our page and sign the petition.