Better access for disabled at station

Two Norfolk railway stations are to have improved access for disabled and older people after being awarded grants from the Department for Transport (DfT).

DISS railway station is to have improved access for disabled and older people after being awarded a grant from the Department for Transport (DfT).

The money is being provided through the DfT's Access for All small schemes 2008/09 with match-funding coming from Norfolk County Council.

The DfT's £370m Access for All programme funds the redevelopment of station infrastructure.

Improvements will include easier access to platforms, a range of more accessible facilities, such as improved lighting, hearing induction loops and passenger information screens.

The DfT has said it will to upgrade facilities at 223 stations during the next year, including Diss.

Campaigners have been fighting for improved access for the disabled at Diss station and a petition signed by 500 people was submitted to Network Rail last February.

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The Norwich-bound platform can only be accessed by a bridge over the line or stairs from the road.

The campaign to improve facilities was backed by former South Norfolk Council leader Vivienne Clifford- Jackson who after breaking an ankle witnessed the difficulties crossing the station caused.

Norfolk County Council spokesman Steven Reilly said: "We are pleased to have received this funding - which will meet half the cost of our £50,000 scheme to improve disabled access to the Norwich bound platform at Diss Railway Station.

"We have already been working with interested parties and a local disability group, who have given their backing to our plans to replace the current steep steps leading to the platform with a pedestrian ramp.

"The funding has been granted for the next financial year, so the work will be completed by the end of March 2009 at the latest."

Another Norfolk station, Watlington near King's Lynn, is to receive a £170,000 investment which will help it improve provision for car parking.