(Albrighton, Boningale, Donington-with-Boscobel and Tong)

Albrighton Station Pedestrian Access Ramp
We have been asked for explanation by some residents about a comment that the ramp is not DDA compliant.
When residents suggested that we start a campaign to retain the ramp, at the very first meeting called by our MP, Mark Pritchard, in 2014 it was clear that the ramp, although used by passengers for 6 months, was not fully compliant with the Equality Act 2010. The ramp is too steep at one part for use by severely disabled people. Similarly the footbridge stairs are also not fully compliant and prevents some would-be train users to use the train. Network Rail acknowledge that most small rural rail stations in the UK are not fully compliant having been built in the Victorian era. Albrighton station was built in 1849 and the footbridge in 1883.
We also noted that even some new stations, such as Cosford Station, rebuilt a couple of years ago, is similarly not fully compliant as it can only be accessed by a very high set of stairs. Indeed the two stations at each side of Albrighton station are not compliant – ie Cosford, Shifnal, Codsall and Bilbrook.
How does this situation arise where stations do not comply with Acts of Parliament yet continue to be successfully used and remain legal and within the law? The Act allows for a dispensation or waiver for such stations – otherwise most rural stations would have to close, which is impractical and not common sense.
The pedestrian ramp at Albrighton was very successfully used for six months and was the only way to go to and from platform 1 – it was this experience that led to many residents including partially disabled people (not those in wheel chairs), mums with push chairs and toddlers, people taking heavy luggage etc to be shocked on finding out that the ramp was temporary and was to be demolished. A petition taken door to door of the 2300 houses in Albrighton and Donington gained more than 1700 signatures for retention of the ramp.
Our MP, Mark Pritchard has been very supportive of this community project and has helped by calling the various parties together several times when the way forward was planned and agreed - such parties included Network Rail, London Midland Trains, EE Communications Co (land owner), Shropshire Council, Albrighton Parish Council, Boningale PC, Donington-with-Boscobel PC, Tong PC and the Civic Society. He advised that a dispensation could be sought and he has written to Network Rail to ask them to make the formal application to the Department for Transport for a dispensation. We are confident that he will obtain the dispensation.
We are pleased to note that many agreements have been made including:- Network Rail will hand over the ramp to Albrighton PC acting for the consortium of local PCs, EE on whose land the ramp was built will transfer ownership for a nominal sum, London Midland will carry out operational maintenance of the ramp (and Mark Pritchard has arranged that the new franchise contract has a clause requiring the next franchisee rail operator to carry out the operational maintenance of the ramp), Network Rail has kindly offered to install state-of-the-art Viper Rail Lighting, Shropshire Council will install a new footpath in Station Rd to join up with the foot of the ramp (thanks to Cllr Malcolm Pate).
Albrighton PC have agreed to take control of the ramp on condition that the ramp can be included in its insurance policy (which they have to cover all the village assets which are owned by the PC) and that a premium increase, if any, is reasonable.

The future of Albrighton Swimming Pool
A Friends of Albrighton Swimming Pool has been established by residents Roger Rudman, David Alcock, Adrian Thomas, Adrian Robinson and Peter Woodman (and many other volunteers). They are creating a monthly Lottery which it is hoped will provide a contribution to the funds to run the swimming pool and reduce or replace the funds provided by the parish council. The lottery will be launched on Saturday 28th January 2017 between 10am and 2pm on the Library forecourt. There will be live musical entertainment and all who sign up for the lottery will receive a free hamburger/hotdog generously provided by Peter Gwilt of the Next Door Bar – come and help get this venture off to a good start, enjoy some music and a free lunch. The Civic Society wishes all involved good luck for a successful community venture and sends thanks for working so hard over the last few months to bring it about.

For more information about the Society please see
www     or contact:
Peter Woodman –Chairman (T: 372225) 31/32 High St  or Rod Smith -Secretary (T: 372765)