Alfreton Town Council has reacted angrily to the news that the disability works at the Towns station to make platform two accessible to all users has seemingly been pulled just eighteen months after the scheme was given the green light.The scheme had also been fully surveyed, designed and costed, and presented to the public last autumn. The Town Council are seeking formal confirmation, but understand the scheme has been pulled by the Department for Transport. Cllr Scott Walker, Leader of the Council said ‘the public needs to be aware that it is the Government who have stopped the scheme and the reality of the situation is that it could be more than seven years before the scheme comes around. It is unacceptable that the scheme has been stopped again and that the bad news has been sneaked out when cynically before the last General Election the news of the scheme approval was broadcast from the rooftops’ The Town Council has also had train operating companies contacting them unsure of the situation as they have not been told by the Government department.
The Town Council has vowed to keep up its 20 year fight, and is working with a number of bodies to highlight the plight of disabled passengers and bring about a discrimination claim. Town Mayor Mary Kerry added ‘the situation beggars belief with unprecedented investment in the rail industry, when fares keep rising faster than inflation and HS2 is going to connect with a route that some people can’t even access. The scheme is all designed and it is no defence that the cost of the scheme make it reasonable for the discrimination to take place when the vast budgets of Network Rail are considered’. The Town Council also understands that a taxi service is available for disabled customer’s, but needs to be booked in advance. The Council has asked that the service be advertised, but the train operating companies are not prepared to change the signage at the station advising customers to take a one hour detour. The Town Council encourages rail users to ask about and use this service.