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  1. Published on: 14/10/2020 02:47 PMReported by: roving-eye
    Southport rail campaigners who have secured vital disabled access at one of the town’s railway stations say they are astonished to see local Lib Deb councillors trying to claim credit for the scheme.

    Last year, Hillside Train Station in Southport received funding for new disabled access through the sixth round of the Access for All scheme, which was set up by the Department of Transport.
    It followed intense lobbying by Southport Conservative MP Damien Moore and local Conservative campaigners including Dukes Ward Conservative councillor Sir Ron Watson.

    Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions in April 2019, then Prime Minister Theresa May congratulated Damien Moore and the other activists for securing the funding for the scheme.

    Birkdale Liberal Democrat councillors are now trying to claim credit for the initiative with a story in their latest Birkdale Focus leaflet saying they have told Merseytravel of residents’ concerns in the “long-running campaign to make Hillside Station fully accessible”.

    Southport Conservative MP Damien Moore said: “We have worked hard to make these changes happen at Hillside Railway Station.

    “We were determined to secure this vital allocation of funds in order for Hillside to finally become accessible for disabled and elderly people, before making the case for all stations across the United Kingdom to be accessible.

    “At times Hillside is an extremely busy station, as the nearest facility to both Greenbank High School and Birkdale High School.

    “It is also the nearest train station to a number of golf courses including Royal Birkdale, which hosts the Open Golf championships that attract visitors from all over the world to Southport and bring millions of pounds into our local economy.

    “Having a fully accessible railway station is vital for so many reasons.

    “Let’s not forget that John Pugh was MP for Southport for 16 years, from 2001 until I first won my seat, in 2017. He had many opportunities to lobby for changes at Hillside when he was MP, but failed to do so. Now his colleagues are trying to claim credit for the work which we have achieved.”

    Dukes Ward Conservative councillor Sir Ron Watson said: “I identified the real difficulty that people with disabilities have at Hillside Station and where essentially the station cannot be used by those with mobility issues and indeed other forms of disability.

    “I raised this with the appropriate rail authorities but at the time they advised that whilst additional funding had been made available for some stations Hillside was not included.
    “I thought the matter to be of such importance that I contacted Southport’s Conservative MP, Damien Moore, who pulled out all the stops to have this raised with Ministers and I was delighted that they in turn were persuaded to increase the allocations and that finance would now be made available for Hillside.

    “This is one example of how co-operation between local councillors and our MP can bring about positive results and where the involvement of other political parties for their own narrow self-interest and promotion do them no credit and it is little wonder that the public view such behaviour with such scepticism.

    “At the end of the day what matters is that those categories of people who I am troubled about and want to help are going to receive the assistance they need.”

    Southport Conservative Dukes Ward campaigner Michael Prendergast said: “'The issue of disabled access at Hillside Station is one that affects many residents in Dukes Ward and those visiting the area.

    “Our local MP, Damien Moore and Dukes Ward Councillor, Sir Ron Watson CBE, have worked hard to secure the funding for this important piece of infrastructure that will help improve the lives of many people.

    “The issue of disability access is crucial for our ward to ensure that all residents have access to the services they need.”

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  3. salus.populi says:14/10/2020 08:24 PM
    I'm a bit confused here. The article starts off mentioning "rail campaigners" but despite the great length of the article there's no further mention of any "rail campaigners".
    Instead it appears to be yet another spat between politicians and hopeful candidates.
    Is "rail campaigner" just another pseudonym for "candidate for local councillor" in the same way that "local businessman" and "community figure" is?

  4. Likes Sap33 liked this post
  5. The PNP says:15/10/2020 09:56 AM
    Everyone's been 'calling' for disabled access at Hillside for a long time - even our humble small group.....In any event, congratulations to all who did!

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