Garforth Station – step free access ready for planning permission.

Network Rail is preparing the final stages of delivering step-free access at Garforth Railway Station, it has been announced.

Alec had been campaigning for new step-free access at Garforth for over a decade before finally securing funds direct from the Department for Transport. Alec will continue to work closely, cross-party, with Garforth’s Independent Councillors to represent the views of residents through the planning process.

Announcing the scheme in 2014, the then Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “After years of false starts and broken promises under Labour, it is a testament to the local Conservative MP Alec Shelbrooke’s persistent campaigning that I can announce that this scheme is finally happening for the people of Garforth”.

Since 2014 Alec has been in regular contact with Transport officials pushing for firmer plans and no further delays. He also raised the matter several times in the House of Commons Chamber.

But today it has been announced that the final stage before construction is now underway.

Alec said: “Today I’m delighted that Network Rail has formalised a plan with four options for stakeholders to choose from before the submission of a full planning application to Leeds City Council. It is my hope that Leeds City Council can deal with the application swiftly to avoid no further delays”.

“I have been campaigning for step-free access at Garforth Station for many years. We had an original plan submitted but this then incurred unnecessary delays along the way but I have been committed to providing disabled people and pushchair users with the same access to travel as everyone else – and delivering step-free access at Garforth station will help thousands more people travel easily and without additional cost, time or stress”.

Previously, Garforth resident Mrs Morris said: “We’ve waited far too long for disabled access at Garforth. The elderly, disabled and those with pushchairs have not been able to use the station so we’re extremely grateful to Alec for fighting alongside us to deliver this disabled access”.

The Government’s Access for All programme was first launched in 2006 and has delivered more than 200 accessible routes into selected stations so far.

A further 1,500 stations have received smaller scale improvements such as accessible toilets, platform humps to reduce stepping distances and improvements to help those with a visual or hearing impairment.