13th March Update:
Today we have had confirmation from the Department for Transport that East Grinstead Station will be one of those which benefits from the new investment announced in Wednesday's budget to make it accessible. I attach a link below for your information. I know this is something which has long been fought for and I praise local councillors and campaigners who have worked hard to secure this.
MP for Mid Sussex highlights disabled access plight at East Grinstead Station with Department for Transport
Mims Davies, Member of Parliament for Mid Sussex, has raised the profile of accessibility concerns at East Grinstead Railway Station for commuters and residents with the Department of Transport in a bid to get support for vital changes.
Mims said “This is a prime commuter station into London Terminals, East Croydon and Bedford as well as further afield with services provided by Southern Rail and Thameslink.
I recognise that many services leave from the fully accessible platform 2 however around 8-9 commuter trains do initiate or pass through platform 1 in the morning and a similar number return in the evening. The issue here is that platform 1 is only accessible by means of a step access footbridge from and to platform 2. I am aware that feasibility study funds bids have previously been made by the Access Group and whilst East Grinstead Station had been previously selected and identified as needing attention, bids have not been successful.
She continues “I am concerned that as a terminus station there is no option to exit platform 1 in any way that does not include the step access footbridge. This particularly affects those requiring assistance who are carefully but perhaps unceremoniously carried by staff over the lines on a barrow crossing. I have highlighted that this is clearly a health and safety risk to both the staff and passenger and contrary to DDA regulations. I thank local councillors for raising this issue strongly and I have reflected their views in my contact with the Department for Transport.
Accessibility issues to platform 1 also affect passengers with buggies/prams, small children or large luggage items and with East Grinstead typically used as the alternative service to Gatwick Station when it is closed for maintenance this swell in passenger numbers adds to the complexity of moving to Platform 2 or the station exit. A further limiting factor is that with the announcement that Gatwick has plans to licence the emergency runway, there will be greater pressure here. East Grinstead is a key station in its own right and even without this additional need to assist with the Gatwick overflow I am adamant that full accessibility for all passengers must be achieved.”