Southeastern is asking for your views on which of their stations could benefit from a Government fund designed to help provided ‘step-free access’ for passengers.
We feel that Hildenborough station fits the bill perfectly. Our proposal is a ramp that could be built from platform 2 up to the road (Rings Hill). Not only will this benefit those with mobility issues but it’ll also benefit parents with push chairs and those travelling with luggage.
It’ll also help passenger flow during the evening rush hour, which can be a real bottleneck. In short, this proposal would benefit pretty much every single passenger using Hildenborough station.
We urge as many people as possible to fill out this web survey and let’s get Hildenborough station the investment it deserves. If you need more convincing, lets look at the issues one by one:
- Current situation – The only exit on the down line is over a stepped foot bridge. People with disabilities, mobility issues, buggies or heavy luggage are forced to travel on to Tonbridge and back. This adds to journey time, train loading numbers and is impractical given the relative infrequency of services to the station. Hildenborough has Seven (7!) disabled parking bays in the car park yet the station is pretty useless for the majority of disabled users. These often go unused.
- Lifts at other stations – The official advice for passengers needing lifts is travel on to another station, use their lifts and travel back to Hildenborough. Tonbridge and Paddock Woods have lifts. In recent times, these have all been subject to periods of lengthy maintenance. When your only option is to go beyond your station and come back, you want to know that the lifts will work. A ramp at Hildenborough removes the need for this extra unnecessary journey.
- Over reliance on the bridge – As the only exit from platform 2 is the bridge, this creates a dangerous over reliance on what appears to be a fairly old bridge. If this were unusable it would force the closure of platform 2 and all passengers would need to travel to Tonbridge and back until the situation was resolved. This doesn’t bear thinking about!
- Crowd control – Evening rush hour trains often see significant numbers trying to enter the bridge which causes a bottleneck in exiting the station. Those of us who use the station all know which carriages to get on if you want to make a speedy exit at the station! It can take a number of minutes for everyone to get across the bridge.
The survey can be found here:
To make things as easy as possible for you, we’ve prepared sample answers below. You are of course free to write your own text and we’d encourage you to personalise this as much as you like. The most important thing is to ensure that your voice is heard.
- Hildenborough would benefit from step-free access as the station is virtually unusable for those people with serious mobility issues. For those travelling from London, the only exit is a stepped foot bridge. This makes it impossible for someone in a wheelchair or with a push buggy to exit the station without somebody to help them. A ramp from the platform up to the road would make the world of difference for many passengers. The station already has disabled parking bays, disabled access doors. The ramp would be a big step towards making Hildenborough station accessible for all.
- Optional. If you have any then great, we’ll be taking some of the disabled bays in the car park, the location of the proposed ramp and the bridge (please note that any pictures will need to be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Hildenborough’ as your subject)
- This part is entirely optional. We’ll put our contact details down so will be happy to liaise with Southeastern on this project
Please submit your entry by Sunday 30 September. There are only a few weeks left before the deadline. This proposal will benefit everyone.
Those with mobility issues (such as wheelchairs), luggage and pushchairs are the most obvious beneficiaries. Those parking at the allotment or down Noble Tree Way will get a more direct route to their cars. Those still using the bridge will gain a smoother journey as they’ll be fewer people going the same way. This really is a win win and we urge everyone to submit a response.