North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood has submitted a written question to Transport Minister Edwina Hart regarding the lack of disabled access at Chirk and Ruabon train stations following recent concerns raised by disabled rail users.
Mr Isherwood, who is Co-Chair of the Assembly Cros s Party Group on Disability, has long been calling for improved disabled access at railway stations across Wales and was therefore pleased when in 2012 former Welsh Government Minister for Local Government and Communities, Carl Sargeant, responded to calls to address the poor disabled access at Chirk station.
Chirk, and the other four stations (Llandaf, Machynlleth, Radyr and Ystrad Mynach) were awarded funding from the UK Government and a letter from Mr Sargeant stated: ‘The Department For Transport will fund 50% of the costs of this programme at those stations and my officials are currently finalising funding details with each relevant regional transport consortia, which will fund the remaining 50% of costs over the lifetime of these projects."
Mr Isherwood: “This work at Chirk was promised by the Welsh Government at the beginning of last year, but we are still waiting. I have been campaigning for improved access at these stations since 2006 and I am concerned that nothing has yet been done.
“Speaking in the Assembly in 2011 I highlighted that only 8% of stations in Wales are completely disabled friendly and referring to Chirk Station, stated that Disabled Athlete and former Wrexham Sports Personality of the year Gareth Stafford travels out from Chirk Station, but cannot return there as the platform is then on the other side of the track.
“More recently Ruth Drake, the mother of five-year-old-girl with cerebral palsy, has been told she will have to pay for costly taxis to Wrexham station because of the lack of disabled access at Ruabon and Chirk stations – this is totally unacceptable and the improvements at Chirk and Ruabon need to be carried out as a matter of urgency. Disabled rail users should have the same access to travel as every other rail user and I will continue pressing the Welsh Government until they do.”