Railway stations could be made step free

Image source, GWR

Image caption,

Bristol Temple Meads is one of 27 stations included in the feasibility study agreed by Weca

Railway stations across the west of England with limited accessibility for disabled passengers could be made step-free.

The West of England Combined Authority (Weca) is spending £100,000 on a feasibility study to improve facilities at 27 stations.

They include Lawrence Hill station in Bristol where the southbound platform is accessible only by steps.

Weca is aiming to make all platforms step-free from bus stops and car parks.

The authority has agreed to carry out a study to assess the scope and overall cost of making the stations more accessible.

"Improved passenger facilities and levels of accessibility at railway stations, and making them step free to enable all passengers to travel by train, is an objective within the Joint Local Transport Plan," members were told in a report.

"This would leave Weca well-placed to make applications for potential new funding opportunities, such as through the Department for Transport's Access for All programme."

Image source, Neil Owen/Geograph

Image caption,

Lawrence Hill Station's southbound platform can only be accessed by steps

Weca said it would seek funding contributions from Network Rail, Great Western Railway and North Somerset Council, according to the BBC's Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).

Among the other stations in line for improvements are Bristol Temple Meads, Bath Spa, Avonmouth, Keynsham and Weston-super-Mare.

Meanwhile, the combined authority has also approved the next stage of the proposed Yate park and ride on Badminton Road.

"The planning application is now under consideration and this decision... means we can enable this project to keep moving at pace towards delivery in the new year," said council leader Toby Savage.