Priti Patel MP disappointed by DFT’s decision not to award Access for All funding to Marks Tey
Priti Patel, the MP for Witham has expressed her disappointment at the Department for Transport’s decision not to include Marks Tey on the list of stations to be awarded Access for All Funding. Representations were made by Priti to the Department for Transport and she sent a supporting letter to Greater Anglia to include with their bid, along with other local MPs, including James Cartlidge, whose constituents use the Sudbury branch line. Priti and James also went to Marks Tey Station last summer to jointly promote the bid.
Commenting on the decision, Priti said: “I am very disappointed that despite Marks Tey station being listed by Greater Anglia as the highest priority station in the region for Access for All funding, in their bid to the Department for Transport last November, it has been overlooked.
“The station is an important interchange between the mainline and the Sudbury branch line and there is currently no step free interchange between the London bound platforms and the platforms that serve the branch line. Passengers arriving from the Sudbury branch into Marks Tey have to board a service to Colchester and change there for London bound services, adding a considerable amount of time to their journey and a great deal of inconvenience. This is particularly difficult for passengers with mobility issues and for parents with children and pushchairs.
“I have corresponded with the Minister, Nusrat Ghani MP about the decision, and she informs me that there is a great deal of competition for Access for All funding and that the case for Marks Tey was not as strong as for other stations with greater footfall. I am unhappy with this response and I am now asking the Minister why stations specifically identified by local operators as the highest priority for accessibility improvements in a region would not be given more consideration over footfall statistics and the availability of third party funding. I will also be contacting Network Rail to see if they are planning any work at Marks Tey station to improve accessibility that might trigger UK and EU standards under the Design Standards for Accessible Railway Stations, which could help provide these vital improvements.”
- In 2016/17, there were 358,276 interchanges at Marks Tey station and the majority of these will have involved passengers climbing a long flight of steps to cross the bridge to reach the other platform. This can cause great distress to those with limited mobility, pushchairs and children, especially if they need to rush to catch a departing train.
- Greater Anglia’s plan, had they been awarded Access for All funding, was to install new footbridge to provide step free access through lifts to all platforms and station entrances.