Essex

Disabled access at Essex station will improve, says MP

The outside of Brentwood Railway Station
Image caption Brentwood railway station has no lift to platform four

An MP has pledged that disabled access will be improved on a major rail route within a year.

Brentwood MP Alex Burghart said the campaign for a lift at the Essex town's station had gone on "for years".

"This is the only point, I understand, on the new Crossrail network that doesn't have proper disabled access," he told the BBC's Sunday Politics East.

Transport for London said Brentwood station was being recommended for funding to improve access.

Currently, disabled travellers, elderly people and parents with pushchairs must negotiate either a steep slope and a busy road, or a flight of 30 steps, to reach the ticket office.

Image caption Alex Burghart MP is campaigning for better access at Brentwood station

They must then retrace the route to get on to platform four to board London-bound trains.

Rail user Jim Hoare, whose arthritis makes it difficult for him to walk from the disabled parking area to the ticket office, claimed the current arrangements breached the Department of Transport's own accessibility guidelines.

"We want to see a lift installed to get to and from platform four," he said.

"At the moment, the station is not used by people with mobility problems; it is just not working and it is dangerous."

Conservative MP Mr Burghart said he hoped to see improvements "in the next year".

He said he was confident funding would be found to link platform four to the ticket office.

Image caption Disabled rail user Jim Hoare is campaigning for a lift at Brentwood station

Lifts were fitted for other platforms several years ago, but plans to install one for platform four were halted after power cables and an open drain were found where it was meant to go.

A spokesman for Transport for London, which manages the station as part of the new Crossrail route, said: "We are including Brentwood in our recommendations to government for Access for All funding.

"Improvements to transport accessibility is a key priority under the Mayor's transport strategy and the Elizabeth line will serve step-free stations at the heart of London and across the entire line."

For more on this story, see BBC Sunday Politics East at 11:00 GMT on 18 November or watch again on iPlayer.

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