PENARTH COUNCIL CALLS FOR BETTER DISABLED ACCESS AT COGAN STATION

Cogan Station’s Grade II listed Victorian pedestrian footbridge is to be restored and refurbished by Network Rail – but nothing is to be done to improve disabled access. Penarth Council’s planning committee was told that for wheelchair users – getting to the opposite platform is a nightmare

Penarth Town Council’s planning committee – considering Network Rail’s plans to refurbish the historic Victorian footbridge bridge over the Cardiff/Barry line at Cogan station –  is recommending that disabled access to the station should be improved .

The refurbishment plans were first reported by PDN last month (see https://tinyurl.com/yajbvmv7 ) and would involve repair and refurbishment of the existing pedestrian bridge which links the two platforms.

Cllr Jon Luxton (Labour Stanwell)

It came up at the  end of a long session – a point in the proceedings when  the committee members were looking forward to getting home and putting their feet up.

All that was necessary was for the committee to rubber-stamp a routine recommendation for a Network Rail scheme to restore the Victorian footbridge linking the two platforms at Cogan Station….But it was then that Deputy Mayor of Penarth, Cllr Jon Luxton, – who is a wheelchair user – threw a spanner in the works .

Cllr Luxton noted that there was nothing in the planning application or the restoration plans to make the historic Grade II listed bridge accessible for people with wheelchairs. “Are they just going to leave the steps there?” he asked .  “We ought to be fixing it “ – he said .

Cllr Nigel Humphrey (Labour St Augustines)

The chairman Cllr Nigel Humphrey asked Cllr Luxton “What would you see them [i.e. Network Rail] do then? ”

Cllr Luxton retorted “Put ramps over it!”.

Cllr Humphrey patiently explained to Cllr Luxton ” Planning is not retrospective. This is an existing bridge.” 

However Cllr Luxton was not in the least phased by Cllr Humphrey’s comment. He doggedly re-iterated that Network Rail should be fixing the bridge and making “a proper job of it” .Cllr Luxton said  “It’s crazy. That station is the bind of some people’s lives  – to get to the other side “.

The Town Clerk rallied to Cllr Humphrey’s corner and said she imagined there would already be a set budget in place for this particular project.

Cllr Luxton wasn’t swallowing that. “It’s an accessibility issue” – he said –  “It’s the Equality Act that I’m concerned with” [ i.e. the legislation which requires access for disabled people to public buildings and facilities ]  . If they [Network Rail] are making changes, they should make it accessible. Cllr Luxton said he was not saying it was a “winnable case –  but surely it’s an ethical case“.

Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines)

Deputy planning chairman Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) came up with an alternative course of action – which sounded suspiciously like filing Cllr Luxton’s proposals in a drawer marked “long grass”.

Cllr Cuddy said that in a recent “City Deal” paper to the council there was a call for a “wish list”  of improvements . He said it would be interesting to see if disabled access was actually in the list for potential future works at Cogan Station. Many, many, stations he said were in the same position [on disabled access] as Cogan.

However Cllr Luxton already had the figures at his fingertips. He said “20% of stations are inaccessible” [to disabled people] he said  – noting that “the Disability Discrimination Act was passed in 1995 and yet we have hardly improved since then”.

In 2015 a wheelchair user was injured when he and his wife attempted take the tortuous route  to reach the opposite platform at Cogan Station .

The Town Clerk proposed that the planning committee should state in its formal observation to the Vale of Glamorgan Council on the Cogan Station footbridge refurbishment that “We would like to see full accessibility looked at”.

Cllr Luxton wasn’t satisfied with that. He demanded the council go further. He said Network Rail should be asked for their plan and “the budget associated with it” . Warming to his point Cllr Luxton said that-  paradoxically – the current legislation required that railway ticket offices had to be accessible to disabled people –  but actual trains did not.

Cllr Humphrey – in the chair – ruled that there was no legitimate planning reason to object to Network Rail’s proposals. He proposed that the committee should say it had no objection to the proposed works on the rail footbridge –  but it could add that ‘disabled access is inadequate’ and that there should be “proposals to address that”.  With some members looking at the clock, the planning committee so agreed.

PDN Note: The well-publicised case of a disabled wheelchair user who was injured when his wife attempted to take him the “long way around” to reach the opposite platform at Cogan was reported by PDN  in March 2015 on   https://tinyurl.com/p3mzoy4

 

 

 

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10 Responses to PENARTH COUNCIL CALLS FOR BETTER DISABLED ACCESS AT COGAN STATION

  1. Confuseddeanus says:

    I can see no reason why disabled access could not and should not be provided. It will also provide better access for the old and infirm. These long-term improvements should not be missed opportunities.

  2. Ford Prefect says:

    The junction at the end of Andrew Road, and the entrance to the station car park are extremely dangerous for pedestrians. There is no safe place to cross and they are far too wide. Car drivists whizz into Andrew Road without slowing down and you need your wits about you when walking across, whilst constantly checking over your shoulder. How an elderly or disabled person manages this I have no idea. Both entrances need to be made much narrower and have some sort of crossing installed.

    In fact, the whole Cogan area is atrocious for anyone not in a car. the mini roundabout next to the station is similarly lethal and can take a lifetime to get across. It needs zebra crossings, wider pavements, speedbumps for cars and a 20mph zone throughout.

    • Confuseddeanus says:

      I agree with you Ford but unfortunately crossing any road for anybody requires careful observation. The bottom of Andrew Road is likely to have good visibility in both directions for pedestrians. Also it requires quite a high number of pedestrians and vehicles to consider providing a controlled or uncontrolled crossing due to cost. I agree that the mini roundabout at Tesco’s is torturous to cross. Due to design standards putting any crossings close to the roundabout is highly unlikely. When the marina was developed they should have considered providing traffic signals but this is almost certainly wood have resulted in having to widen the bridge and the access roads to the roundabout to provide signals. It is likely that this was unpractical or that the council decided it was too expensive for the various developers to contribute to and would frighten them off. If signals had been provided it is likely they could have been linked to The Barons Court traffic signals and improved the capacity and free flow of traffic.

  3. AK says:

    I can get a stairlift installed in my home in half a day. Why not install one up the bridge stairs?

  4. penarthblog says:

    As someone who has mobility problems, I agree with both the above comments.

  5. Martin Houghton says:

    This bunch of incompetents can spend hours discussing the merits, or otherwise, of often expensive and grotesque planning developments, yet when it comes to the disabled the subject matter is treated as an afterthought when all they really want to do is get home to their beds. How much longer must we subsidise this irrelevant level of bureaucracy?

  6. snoggerdog says:

    its been done at radyr,it should be done at cogan.

  7. Taxpayer says:

    Not just there disable access is dreadfull in Penarth!

    • Confuseddeanus says:

      I agree. The council should be using developers contribution to provide tactile Paving and dropped kerbs at all junctions. I particularly notice this at the Andrew Road End by Windsor Road where the curbs are quite steep

  8. There used to be a path across the rails at the down end of the platforms… surely in this day and age – when we have effectively a Pelican crossing for those who wish to cross to Sully Island that a similar system couldn’t be put to use for disabled people to utilize in order to cross the lines at this point…. See photo here https://www.rcts.org.uk/features/mysteryphotos/show.htm?location=cogan&serial=3&img=B-65-02

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