Town councillors have this week called for major improvements to be made to Highbridge railway station to make it more accessible for disabled travellers and those who use public transport.
At a meeting held on Monday night (September 24th), Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge town councillors agreed that “much-needed enhancements” are needed at the station.
Cllr Phil Harvey said: “The fact that this station has 250,000 users every year and doesn’t have a bus service is frankly ridiculous. Integrated transport is needed here.”
Cllr Janet Keen said that accessibility also needs to be urgently improved: “The station desperately needs disabled access from both sides.”
She added that community developer funding should be used: “I’d like to see the ‘Section 106’ money that was secured many years ago when Asda was built. I know the agreement is tightly written, but we should consider an approach to Sedgemoor and Asda’s legal team to see if it could be used. If we don’t ask, we won’t get.”
Cllr Michael Clarke, who is chairman of the council’s Town Projects Committee, added: “I quite agree – it would be great to see this station far more accessible.”
It was noted that Great Western Railway (GWR) has funds available to promote enhancements to stations with typical grants offered of around £20,000.
The comments followed a meeting with GWR on September 14th, held at Highbridge station, when potential improvements were discussed, including better lighting and signage, plus a mural showing a railway scene on the gable end of Snippers haidressers.
A new working party is to be formed, comprising of three town councillors, plus the Town Clerk and the Chairman of Highbridge Chamber of Trade, to draw up details of the project and also to establish the costs.
Cllr Harvey added that the Burnham and Highbridge Neighbourhood Plan that was approved last week in a referendum also includes a reference to the possible use of unused land besides the railway station. “Now could be a good time to start discussing this with Great Western and Network Rail,” he added.