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Network Rail, East Midlands Trains and Staffordshire County Council are holding a drop-in session at the station on Friday (20 March) to discuss the plans with residents and find out more about their thoughts on what the improvements should look like.
Funding totalling £4m to provide step-free access at the station has been secured through the Department for Transport’s Access for All scheme. Network Rail, East Midlands Trains, the North Staffordshire Community Rail Partnership, Staffordshire County Council and local MP Joan Walley have also managed to secure an additional £1m from the National Stations Improvement Programme, £400K from Staffordshire County Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership, and nearly £100K through volunteer time and work with the North Staffordshire Community Rail Partnership.
The combined money will help fund a fully accessible, integrated transport interchange for trains, buses, cycles, cars and taxis, providing a boost to the station and the Kidsgrove and surrounding area.
Design options are currently being worked on and local residents are being urged to outline what matters most to them and what they would like to see the investment look like at the event on Friday 20 March between 12.30pm and 4pm.
Terry Strickland, area director for Network Rail, said: “We are committed to investing in and improving the railway to meet the demands of the ever-increasing number of passengers travelling by train. The commitment of the organisations and people involved in wanting to improve Kidsgrove station has meant that more than £5m is available to make it a better station – and the views of local people before final decisions are made are really important. This event is an ideal opportunity to find out more about the plans and to influence the development of the station.”
Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said: “It is vital that our rail network is accessible to as many people as possible, and the planned improvements at Kidsgrove will make a real difference to passengers – from those with limited mobility, people with heavy luggage or parents with prams.
“By the end of 2019, we will have spent more than £550 million to improve accessibility at more than 200 stations, as part of our plans to build a stronger economy and a fairer society.” Joan Walley MP said: “I am delighted to have brought these organisations together for the benefit of Kidsgrove station. After all the work behind the scenes to secure the funding for disabled access, we have everyone working together and can now achieve even more.
“We need the endorsement of local people and I hope there will be a strong turnout from the people of Kidsgrove to look at the plans and share their views and preferences for the future of the station.”
Neil Micklethwaite, customer service and commercial director for East Midlands Trains, said "We are delighted that along with Network Rail we are able to work so closely with the local authority and community to enhance the facilities at Kidsgrove station. The government's contribution to the scheme, through the Access for All programme, sends an important message that they too are committed to improving the facilities for the local community, which is so important to us.
"This support puts us in a strong position, allowing us to design the station with the views of local residents and businesses in mind. I hope by working together the community will be able to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity."
Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for economy, environment and transport, said: “As a county council we are committed to supporting the public transport network and this investment will be a huge boost for the station and for the community.
“This is an opportunity for local people to really shape the vision for the station and I do hope as many residents as possible come along and have their say on how facilities can be improved.”
Michael Willmot, chairman of the North Staffordshire Community Rail Partnership, said: “Achieving the progress in this project so far is a real tribute to great partnership working, with special thanks to our community rail funding partners Staffordshire County Council and East Midlands Trains and fantastic support from the community. We encourage as many people as possible to come along and help ensure that Kidsgrove gets the station facilities that passengers and the community really deserve.”
Information gathered from the workshop will be fed into the design options, which will then be submitted to the government for approval. A follow-up workshop will be planned for later in the year.