The Department of Transport has confirmed that long-awaited plans for improvements to Kidsgrove Railway Station are set to go ahead on schedule. Local residents have been campaigning for years to secure improvements, including a new pedestrian bridge and lift, in order to improve transport networks in the town. Construction could now begin as early as April next year. This decision also means that third party funding for a new car park and transport interchange will likely remain secure.
Ruth Smeeth MP, who has been working with the campaign and who recently met with the Transport Minister to lobby him on the issue, has welcomed the news.
Ruth said : “It’s absolutely brilliant news that these works finally have the all clear. Kidsgrove station is a vital transport hub for the community and these improvements will be a big boost. I had a productive meeting with the Transport Minister where we discussed the potential benefits of these renovations. I’m delighted that he has recognised the value that this investment will bring. This is the culmination of many years of hard work from so many local residents, Councillors and community organisations who have been advocating for these works for a long, long time.”
Councillor Kyle Robinson said: “When we launched our ‘bridge to equality’ petition in September 2013, we had everything crossed and hoped that the Government would listen. After a lot of lobbying from our MP and members of the community, we are finally moving forward. Almost £4 Million will be invested into this scheme and Kidsgrove will have a modern transport hub fit for the 21st Century.”
Kyle added: “While this is all very positive news I was disappointed to learn that the Department of Transport announced Kidsgrove will lose its direct service to London. This will mean that passengers travelling to London from Kidsgrove will need to change over at Stoke or Stafford stations. However, Kidsgrove will gain a new direct service to Birmingham New Street which opens our area up to jobs in that region. It is important that all our local representatives continue to lobby the Department for Transport for the best possible deal for the people of Kidsgrove.”
Thank you to East Midlands Trains and Network Rail for allowing us to share this video with the public.
Kidsgrove Railway Station funding may be at risk due to a Government report known as the Hendy Review. Sir Peter Hendy (Chair of Network Rail) has been asked by the Secretary of State for Transport to conduct a thorough review of Networks Rail’s funding programmes. You can find the link here: Hendy Review Consultation
Kidsgrove Station is due to benefit from ‘Access for All’ funding and also the ‘National Stations Programme’. These funding grants will fund a new bridge and lifts with disability access and also a new station to replace the current dilapidated facility. However, the Hendy Review may potentially put the whole scheme at risk. Kidsgrove Railway Station is due to receive funding in Control Period 5 (2014-2019), but the review is looking to push back schemes to Funding Control Period 6 (2019-2024). Further delays to funding may result in the Kidsgrove scheme becoming unviable in the future and third party funding may also be lost in the process. Residents and local stakeholders have now raised their concerns that any further delays to funding could put the entire Kidsgrove Integrated Transport plan in jeopardy.
Kidsrove Railway Station continues to see an increase in footfall as direct services offer convenience for passengers. The station has continued to win national awards thanks to the ‘Friends of Kidsgrove Station’ and other local volunteers contributing to the improvements. There is also a café based in the main entrance of the station and the business is doing well thanks to the increase in passengers. It is important to remember that Kidsgrove Railway Station is the only operating station in the Borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme so this service is vital to residents across the local area. More and more people are opting to commute to work from Kidsgrove and this should be seen as an opportunity to promote the green agenda (less cars on the roads).
Access for All funding was originally sought to ensure everybody can access platforms 2, 3 and 4. Currently, wheelchair users can only access platform 1. This is no good if you are travelling to Manchester or Crewe. Disabled people, the elderly and frail and also parents with pushchairs find it extremely difficult to navigate the old Victorian bridge at Kidsgrove Station due to the many flights of steps. People are clearly discriminated against with the current set up and everyone should be able to access all parts of the station. Following a huge local campaign led by Jon Honeysett MBE, the MP, Councillors, passengers, volunteers and residents, the Department of Transport announced that Kidsgrove would receive Access for All funding to give everyone the opportunity to use the station. Following this announcement, more news came that Kidsgrove would be considered for the National Stations Programme and this would mean Kidsgrove would receive a new station with a whole host of modern facilities.
Stakeholders and residents have until Friday 18th March 2016 to submit their views to the Hendy Review Consultation. As there may not be much time to share your views and a letter may not reach the office before the deadline, I would like to advise everyone to send an email (if available) to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Below is a list of points that you could make to the Hendy Consultation. It is important that you put this in your own words and have your say.
- The Hendy Report refers to Access for All funding and the Station Improvement Programme, potentially at risk of being pushed back another five years to Control Period 6 (2019-2024). It is imperative that Kidsgrove Station receives access for all funding in Control Period 5 (Present-2019) to ensure the viability of the scheme.
- Share your own personal story about your involvement with the station and why it is so important to you and others.
- A significant amount of work has already been done to consult the public, submit plans and any changes or delays could now harm the whole scheme.
- State how important it is that disabled people have access to all platforms. This is a basic right for passengers. Wheelchair users simply cannot use Kidsgrove Station if they need to access platforms 2,3 and 4.
- Footfall at Kidsgrove Station continues to increase due to the improvement of services.
- A HS2 hub is destined for Crewe. Kidsgrove will play a vital connection role so that passengers may access HS2 services as quickly and as easily as possible.
- The current dilapidated station needs improvement for the growing demand. Station facilities need to be updated.
- Investment in the Town of Kidsgrove is greatly needed and the station development is entwined with the Town’s plans for an integrated transport system.
- Anything that you think is important.
As stated, residents have until this Friday to contribute to the Hendy Review Consultation and it is very important that as many people as possible have their say. Your views could help tip the scales in favour of Kidsgrove to ensure the whole development and scheme goes ahead in Control Period 5.
Please do your bit!
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.