FRUSTRATIONS are mounting after delays to accessibility improvements at Chalkwell Station.
In May, rail firm c2c agreed to the installation of a lift and footbridge, as Chalkwell is the only station on the c2c line that is not “access-friendly”.
This came as the result of Southend securing £350 million capital from the Access For All Fund.
Anna Firth, MP for Southend West, who has been campaigning for the works, insisted the lack of progress was “not acceptable.”
Last December, it was revealed commuters face a two-year wait for works to be completed with the long delay being blamed on ongoing design works for the new bridge and the necessary planning.
Without the lift, residents are faced with 30 steep steps to access the station, and improving this has been a key aim of Westcliff-based blind campaigner, Jill Allen-King OBE.
Mrs Allen-King OBE, who won a Pride of Britain Lifetime Achievement Award last year, said that the delay was “scandalous”.
She told Leigh News: “I’ve been campaigning for over 40 years to get the lift put in at Chalkwell station. They’ve got the money for it, now yet they’ve told me it won’t go in until 2024.
Mrs Allen-King reportedly added that the lack of lift at her local station makes it very difficult and costly to secure her travel, necessitating a taxi to collect the ticket from Chalkwell, then an additional one to Leigh where there is a lift.
MP Anna Firth insists she has raised the issue in the House of Commons “six times” since being elected on February 3, 2022, but there has yet to be action.
She said: “I have written to Network Rail to request that work begins immediately and have requested an urgent meeting with chief executive Andrew Haines OBE.
“I will continue to push, the Department for Transport, Network Rail and c2c until the lift has been installed.”
A spokesperson for c2c said: “We remain committed to the project as we know this will bring benefits for local customers and visitors.”
Picture: : Mrs Allen-King OBE, with Anna Firth MP.
Contact us. Email: [email protected]