Councillors call for a safer station

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A REPORT proposing safety improvements at Stowmarket railway station will be presented to Mid Suffolk District Council executive committee on Monday.

Cllr John Matthissen proposed the changes following a strategic meeting at the station in January.

The meeting aimed to consider possible short term improvements to access and safety arrangements for bus and taxi users, cyclists and pedestrians using the station.

This comes after continued work from Cllr Matthissen to make changes at the station following an accident in 2009 in which a pedestrian was hit by a car and had her leg broken.

Councillors and representatives from Stowmarket station, National Express East Anglia, Network Rail and Galloway Travel Group all agreed that there was room for improvements to be made to the forecourt.

Proposals to improve the station will be presented to the executive at the meeting which will be held at Mid Suffolk District Council offices in Needham Market.

These have been identified as: safer pedestrian routes, more space for buses, better parking for disabled people, facilities for cyclists and better access for taxis.

Geraint Hughes, stakeholder manager for National Express East Anglia, attended the meeting on January 18.

He said: “With every station forecourt there is always a fair amount of potential conflict between vehicles and pedestrians or cyclists.

“The bus services that use the Stowmarket station forecourt have difficulty in manoeuvring the vehicles safely because the bus stops are quite close to some car parking spaces.

“There was a broad consensus at the meeting that something needs to be done and that it is possible to do something but it is early days yet.”

The improvements are likely to include changes to the layout of the car parking spaces.

Suffolk County Council is working on the initial design work and councillors are looking into possible sources of funding.