One of the first campaigns in which I became involved when I was elected as MP for Brentwood and Ongar in June 2017 was the fight for a lift to be installed on Platform 4 at Brentwood Station.
Jim Hoare and Sue Higgins of the Brentwood Access Group were some of the first people I met on the campaign trail, and they explained that people with disabilities or those with small children and pushchairs could not access the ticket office and London bound trains from Platform 4 without either travelling to Shenfield and back on the right platform or enduring a 200metre slog up a long hill, cross at a dangerous crossing and walk behind the bus shelters to main station concourse.
Funding had been secured for all the lifts to be installed at Brentwood Station but the money for the Platform 4 lift was disbursed elsewhere when a high voltage cable and then a culvert were found under the proposed lift sites. However, applications for new funding are now open and Transport for London have been in touch to say they will be recommending Brentwood for funding:
"We have been asked to make recommendations to the DfT for stations where we think accessibility improvements should be prioritised. These recommendations are then evaluated by the DfT to determine which stations should receive funding for delivery.
I am pleased to confirm that platform four at Brentwood station will be included in our Access for All recommendation for funding. We have a new option for the provision of lifts that is both practical and affordable.
MTR Crossrail has operated Brentwood station on our behalf since May 2015. Since then, the main ticket hall has benefited from significant improvement work and further enhancements have been made to the entrance on platform four, including a new ticket gate and improvements to signage and lighting. Working in conjunction with Essex County Council, the number of disabled bays in the car park has also been increased substantially, with six disabled bays now provided close to platform four.
Brentwood station was awarded funding under the first round of Access for All funding to make the station fully accessible through the installation of three lifts. The first two lifts to platforms one, and two and three were completed in 2015. However, after further surveys, Network Rail found that the initial option of installing a lift from the ticket hall to platform four was not viable due to the need to relocate cables, which was prohibitively expensive. However, we are now recommending that the lift to platform four is installed in this round of funding.
We would welcome your assistance in registering your support for the scheme. Your support will form part of our submission to the DfT, which needs to be undertaken by mid-November. I would encourage your constituents to also nominate Brentwood station themselves ahead of the 16 November deadline. More information on Access for All can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/access-for-all-programme, and information on nominations can be found here: https://www.networkrail.co.uk/communities/passengers/station-improvements/access-for-all/. "
I have sent a letter supporting the application to TfL and to the Department of Transport. If you would like to add your support to the application, please follow the links above to have your say.