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Petition Succeeds – Ash Vale Station Finally Set to Get Step-free Access

Published on: 27 Oct, 2021
Updated on: 31 Oct, 2021

Ash Vale Station – Photo Google street View

By Julie Armstrong

local democracy reporter

See also subsequent article: Access, For the Moment, Denied to Government Funding Puts Ash Vale Station Project On Hold

Ash Vale railway station will finally be made accessible to people with disabilities.

Nearly 2,700 people signed a petition to grant step-free access at the station, situated on a high embankment, which can only be accessed by flights of stairs.

Petition organiser Daniel McHugh said wheelchair users were forced to use alternative stations, which could add half an hour onto their journey to London.

One Ash Vale resident said: “I cannot believe the station doesn’t have a lift. I have been using the station for over 35 years.

“Many years ago as a Mum I had a very difficult job of carrying a pushchair, baby and toddler with no help up and down the stairs. Now I offer help to parents with pushchairs, all these years on.”

Michael Gove, MP

Surrey Heath MP Michael Gove even backed the access campaign in a letter to South Western Railway.

Now, three years on, Network Rail has committed £5 million to deliver a fully accessible station, with a further £300,000 contributed by Surrey County Council.

The Equality Act 2010 requires all station operators to take reasonable steps to ensure they do not discriminate against disabled people.

Network Rail said previously Ash Vale was not eligible for the Department for Transport’s Access for All funding.

Ash Vale station is one of seven infrastructure projects chosen by the council and its partners to get a share of over £30 million, announced at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting (October 26).

Cllr Carla Morson

Carla Morson who was elected as the Lib Dem county councillor for Ash in May said: “I’m absolutely delighted that at long last Ash Vale Station will be accessible to all. Dan McHugh has worked tirelessly to bring this to fruition despite numerous difficulties and delays along the way.

“This step-free access will mean so much to local residents who will now, in some cases for the first time, be able to use their local station”

The station is on the London Waterloo to Alton and Ascot to Aldershot lines. It handled over 400,000 passengers in 2020/2021.

The original Victorian station building had to be demolished due to subsidence. A booking clerk, Geoffrey Dean, was murdered at the station in 1952. The current building was constructed in the 1970s/80s.

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test 2 Responses to Petition Succeeds – Ash Vale Station Finally Set to Get Step-free Access

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    October 27, 2021 at 9:07 pm

    Excellent news, now all we need is the taxi rank turned around at Guildford main station, with buses there as well, and we could be on the way to a usable public transport system for all.

  2. Paul Spooner Reply

    October 30, 2021 at 11:31 am

    Whilst this would be excellent news for the community if it was true, I have waited for a few days to see this story corrected. But perhaps because the Lib Dems (as usual), as the “jump on a bandwagon party” released a PR on this prematurely, The Dragon has chosen not to correct the story.

    A few weeks ago the Conservatives, who have worked hard on supporting step-free access at Ash Vale Station, along with Dan McHugh who has led a none political campaign in a very honourable way, supported by residents across the political spectrum, were expecting National Rail to be able to confirm DfT support to enable Ash Vale Station, along with several others, to receive significant investment.

    Surrey County Council had agreed funding of £300k towards the Ash Vale project and Ash Parish Council had also agreed funding, if needed. However, just a few days prior to the announcement DfT decided to put funding on hold and that remains the position today, as far as I am aware.

    Therefore the article is misleading at best and plainly wrong at worst. I trust the bandwagon party will apologise for misleading the electorate once again. On a personal level, I truly wish funding has been confirmed, and let’s hope that does happen sooner rather than later, but it won’t be the Lib Dems making that happen.

    Paul Spooner is a Conservative borough councillor for South Ash & Tongham.

    Editor’s response: Julie Armstrong’s story was based on a report presented at the Surrey County Council Cabinet meeting on Tuesday (October 26). It was subsequently published (as part of the minutes), as was the webcast of the meeting. There was no apparent indication of any provisional status of the DfT funding and her report was written in good faith. Additionally, we are unaware of any subsequent correction or update issued by SCC. Ms Armstrong has now heard from DfT that their contribution has not been confirmed.

    No PR [press release] on this subject was issued by the Liberal Democrats. The Dragon sought a comment from Cllr Carla Morson as the county councillor for Ash. She was unaware that the DfT funding was unconfirmed.

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