‘Access issue at Monkhill Station is a disgrace’

Disabled passengers can't use platform 2 at Monkhill Station, Pontefract because they can't get back over the bridge if they have a wheelchair. Yvette Cooper MP with Cllr Celia Loughran, CW Baker, David Jones and Brenda Reevell

Disabled passengers can't use platform 2 at Monkhill Station, Pontefract because they can't get back over the bridge if they have a wheelchair. Yvette Cooper MP with Cllr Celia Loughran, CW Baker, David Jones and Brenda Reevell

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Transport bosses are being urged to take action to improve disabled access at Pontefract’s Monkhill railway station.

Campaigners say disabled commuters are unable to get to the platform over the footbridge as there is no wheelchair access.

Passenger Brenda Reevell, 76, said: “I lost my leg 20 years ago and have been campaigning for this ever since.

“It’s a disgrace than nothing has been done about it in that time. I think my complaints have been falling on deaf ears.”

Work on a £400,000 scheme to improve safety at the site started in January.

The work – paid for by Metro and Wakefield Council – will include CCTV, better lighting, extra car parking spaces and improved access. It is due to be completed in April.

Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper has called on the government to step in to fund better disabled access.

Ms Cooper said: “Wakefield Council and Metro have set out plans to improve the safety of Monkhill station, but we need the Department of Transport to do its bit so disabled access can be improved.

“At the moment lots of people can’t use the station because they can’t manage the bridge. That’s not fair.

“The government has a programme for disabled access, we’re calling for Monkhill station to be included.”

Pontefract Coun Celia Loughran, a member of the Campaign for Improved Rail Services Pontefract, Knottingley and Featherstone, said: “We’re pleased we’ve managed to get improvements at Monkhill station thanks to our campaigning.

“But it’s a disgrace that we have no disabled access written into future plans despite the requests that have been made.”

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “With many railway stations dating from the Victorian era, making all our stations accessible is a huge task.

“We are looking at how we can build on this work.

“However, Access for All is not the only way in which stations can be made accessible, and whenever the rail industry carries out infrastructure works at stations it is required to improve accessibility as a matter of course.”