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Campaigners celebrate £600k grant to make rail station step-free

PUBLISHED: 10:54 09 October 2020 | UPDATED: 13:15 09 October 2020

Protesters at Wymondham Train Station demanded action on step free access to platform two. Photo: Submitted

Protesters at Wymondham Train Station demanded action on step free access to platform two. Photo: Submitted

Archant

A long-running campaign to make a Norfolk railway station fully accessible is finally celebrating success – but it could be another two years until it happens.

South Norfolk and Wymondham councillor Suzanne Nuri-Nixon at Wymondham Rail Station. Picture: Suzanne Nuri-NixonSouth Norfolk and Wymondham councillor Suzanne Nuri-Nixon at Wymondham Rail Station. Picture: Suzanne Nuri-Nixon

The lack of step-free access to platform two at Wymondham Rail Station has long been an issue, leaving some people unable to access Cambridge-bound services and causing dozens of protesters to demonstrate there last November.

Now, £600,000 has been made available from the £32m awarded to Norwich by the government’s Transforming Cities Fund to carry out the work and make the entire station accessible for all.

But there could be another long wait to see any further progress, as the deadline to use the money runs through to March 2023.

Nevertheless, pressure from campaigners Wymondham Access Group (WAG) has paid off, and Suzanne Nuri-Nixon, South Wymondham councillor and one of the organisers of last year’s protest, welcomed the accessibility improvement on the so-called tech corridor between Norwich and Cambridge.

Protesters at Wymondham Train Station demanded action on step free access to platform two. Photo: SubmittedProtesters at Wymondham Train Station demanded action on step free access to platform two. Photo: Submitted

She said: “Having to navigate over two flights of stairs meant train journeys were almost impossible for disabled people, elderly people with mobility problems, parents with children and baby buggies, passengers with heavy luggage and even cyclists who would get off the train from Norwich only to be met with numerous stairs to climb.

“For a growing town like Wymondham, it is vital that all our residents can use the trains.”

Dave Roberts, WAG chair, said: “Funding for platform improvements will pave the way to much-needed disabled and able-bodied users’ accessibility. It opens up Wymondham station to endless possibilities for many disadvantaged residents.”

A spokesperson for Greater Anglia, which runs the station, said it was “looking forward to working with the council and Network Rail to provide this step-free access at the station as soon as is practical”.

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Details of exactly how the station will be made step-free are unknown as the project is “in the very early stages”, but Greater Anglia said it would release more details about the project’s timing and delivery once finalised.

What do the planned accessibility improvements at Wymondham Rail Station mean to you? Get in touch with your stories.


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