MP Caroline Ansell is asking the public to support a bid to improve disabled access at Hampden Park railway station after she championed the bid for cash with the Department for Transport.
Caroline is supporting the nomination for the station to the Access for All funding because disabled people, those with mobility issues and even parents with prams have to leave the station and use the level crossing – the busiest in Northern Europe – to get to the other platform.
Already East Sussex College and Eastbourne Access Group have endorsed the bid.
In a letter to the department, she said: “In 2019 this characterful, busy station traditionally serves an astonishing 600,000 passengers with 40,000 a year utilising Hampden Park as a key interchange for services along the coast.
“Incredibly more passengers interchange here than at Eastbourne.
“Although it has step free access, passengers with more limited mobility, including families with buggies or visually impaired, when changing platforms are required to leave the station and traverse the level crossing.
“Not only is there the capacity for being caught with the barriers down, wheelchairs, mobility vehicles and pushchairs especially face difficulties with the track. It is also a single manned station so out of hours support is not available.”
Caroline explained the circuitous journey from platform to platform was lined with challenges and it was a significant impediment, and a time penalty, for those with more limited mobility.
“Southern Railway’s own assessments indicate that going from each mobility point can be around 400 metres. Clearly there is a need, an opportunity, and an imperative for change here.”
She added that improved access would mean an opportunity to grow passenger numbers and boost employment locally and for it to be part of the levelling up agenda.
“At 1.4 miles, Hampden Park station is the closest rail link to Eastbourne District General Hospital, itself identified as one of the 40 new hospitals by Government, East Sussex College Group campus and a cluster of schools, including a new special school due to open later this year.
“Good access to public transport is key to opening up education and employment opportunities and to our levelling up ambitions.
My constituency has pockets of severe deprivation, and more widely, one in four households in my constituency does not have a car.”
“I fully endorse Hampden Park’s bid to this fund and hope to see the transformation it could bring.”