Needham Market rail station campaign heads to Westminster

Jen Overett with the train station petition and Cllr Wendy Marchant, right
Jen Overett with the train station petition and Cllr Wendy Marchant, right

Suffolk County Council is to write to the government on behalf of campaigners fighting for better access at Needham Market railway station.

The council confirmed this week it is to write to Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, informing him it will be applying for an Access for All Grant on behalf of campaigners.

It follows a successful campaign started by resident Jen Overett which has led to a series of public meeting and around 1,000 people signing a petition calling for station access improvements.

Disabled passengers at the station are currently unable to access the Ipswich-bound platform due to its design.

According to Mrs Overett, the 49 steps leading to the platform also makes it difficult for passengers including the elderly, those with heavy luggage, bicycles or pushchairs.

At a recent meeting, Network Rail advised the campaigners they may be eligible for an Access for All improvement grant, which are now open to smaller stations.

The campaign has since won support of several county, district and town councillors and local organisations.

“We have been out an about collecting signatures as we still need as much support as we can get,” said Mrs Overett.

“I have not met anybody yet who doesn’t feel strongly that the station is in need of improvement as it is simply just behind the times.

“It is great Suffolk County Council has taken this on board and we are determined to improve the station.”

The station campaign began in May and it has also won support from the Campaign for Better Transport and business leaders.

“We felt it best the county council make the approach with regard to the grant and great to have their support,” said Mid Suffolk district councillor, Wendy Marchant.