Mark Pritchard calls all parties together AGAIN in campaign
to save Albrighton Station Pedestrian Access Ramp

On the last day before the start of the General Election campaign, Mark Pritchard, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for The Wrekin found time to call all parties together on 27th March to keep the momentum going on the work to retain the pedestrian access ramp at Albrighton Station which had been installed as a temporary measure by Network Rail while the old footbridge was refurbished. The ramp enabled easier access particularly for the elderly, mums with pushchairs & toddlers and people with luggage. Some disabled residents found that they could now go on the train as the four flights of stairs of the footbridge prevented that. On discovering that Network Rail planned to demolish it in February 2014, residents collected more than 1700 signatures in a petition to retain the ramp facility as a local asset and Albrighton & District Civic Society  took on the role of managing the campaign, supported by Shropshire Council and the four Parish Councils of Albrighton, Boningale, Donington-with-Boscobel and Tong. A “Ramp Team” - representatives of the four Parish Councils and the Civic Society -  is now managing the liaison with the other parties. Network Rail proposed to change the temporary lights to a new state of the art lighting system built into the handrail. London Midland was willing, in principle, to undertake operational maintenance (eg putting down winter grit) and will pay for the electricity consumption of the lights. EE, the owner of the land, was supportive of the land transfer to the Consortium of Parish Councils which would become the owner of the ramp. Shropshire Council had prepared scheme drawings and allocated funds for the installation of a new footpath in Station Road to join up with the foot of the ramp to ensure a safe walkway for users. The Ramp Team has drafted Heads of Terms to act as the basis for the legal agreements between the various parties which will now be prepared.

Mark Pritchard, the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for The Wrekin said:
"I was pleased to chair this important meeting. It is good news that all the stakeholders are now committed to retaining the ramp. Local residents will be pleased that the ramp is one step closer to becoming a permanent fixture, which benefits the elderly, those with young toddlers and those who are disabled."

Those attending the meeting were:-
Adam Checkley, Route Asset Manager, Network Rail
Ali Bell, Senior Communications Manager, Network Rail
Sam Handley – Stakeholder Team, Network Rail (NR)
Daniel Thompson - Stakeholder Team, Network Rail (NR)
Steven Fisher, London Midland - operator of the trains & Station
Ramp Team:          Cllr Sylvia Pledger - Chairman of Albrighton Parish Council
Cllr Hugh Kirton – Chairman of Donington-with-Boscobel Parish Council
                                    Cllr Peter Mycroft – Chairman of Tong Parish Council
            Peter Woodman – Chairman, Albrighton & District Civic Society
            Rod Smith – Secretary, Albrighton & District Civic Society
            Other members of Ramp Team: Cllr David Beechey and Ron Kidson
Alice Dilly - Principal Engineer Environmental Maintenance, Shropshire Council
Andrea McWilliams - Community Enablement Officer, Shropshire Council

Albrighton Parish Council and Civic Society Liaison Meeting

Cllr Sylvia Pledger and Peter Woodman met recently in their respective capacities as Chairmen of each organisation. This was the second of such meetings and it was agreed to hold meetings regularly in the future with 2 or 3 members present from each organisation.
It was agreed that these meetings should ensure closer cooperation and a better understanding of objectives – many of which are common. Matters discussed included eyesores in the village e.g. the ex- Barclays Bank building in Station Road and the old Station Master’s Building and what action could be jointly taken to rescue these buildings and remove other eyesores. Planning and Traffic issues will also be on future meeting agendas. This article already covers the work being done jointly to reopen the station pedestrian access ramp – which was an item for discussion at the meeting.
The need for public toilets in the village was also discussed and Sylvia Pledger made it clear that whilst she was in favour in principle of having such facilities, nevertheless recent savage cuts in the Parish Council revenues meant that it was increasingly difficult to find funds for existing important parish projects e.g. the Parish Flyer and the Swimming Pool to name just two. There may be insufficient funds therefore to maintain a public toilet facility at this time, which was why the Council had decided not to pursue the reopening of the Crown Toilet Block. Sylvia said however that she would be prepared to consider any proposals which Marstons, the owners of the toilet block, might make and these would be examined – but these would have to ensure that funding would be kept to a minimum and possible alternative funding sources found.

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)