Fife station disabled access bid rejected

Campaighners may have to wait five years to get another go at securing vital funding.
Campaighners may have to wait five years to get another go at securing vital funding.

A bid for funding to create disabled access for commuters at Burntisland train station has been rejected for a second time.

Residents backed by local politicians have been campaigning for the last decade for cash to improve accessibility to the north bound platform.

Currently, the northbound platform is only accessable by steps which forces passengers with disabilities or restricted mobility to stay on the train to Kirkcaldy and then make the journey back in order to successfully alight the train on the southbound platform.

However, the Department for Transport announced this week that Burntisland had not been selected as one of 73 station that will be upgraded in the next five years.

The news was described as “extremely disappointing” by Kirkcaldy MSP David Torrance,

Mr Torrance said: “I am extremely disappointed by the news that Burntisland was not selected by the UK Government for this round of Access for All funding.

“I know how hard the community has been fighting for this and I feel for the residents of Burntisland who will have to continue stopping at nearby accessible stations or using alternative transport as their station is not adequate.

“I will continue to support the local community and its campaigners to secure funding to make the station accessible for everyone who lives or travels to Burntisland.”

The station is now one of the busiest in Fife currently operating without disabled access to its platforms.

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Councillor Kathleen Leslie, whose Kirkcaldy West, Burntisland and Kinghorn ward the station is in, also voiced her disappointment at the announcemd.

She said: “Transport Scotland made it clear last year that Burntisland would not see an upgrade this time.

“However, the Community Development Trust did forward the nomination form directly to the Department for Transport so it is now very much on their radar.

“Whilst I welcome much needed upgrades at other stations this does not help passengers in Burntisland.”

“A strong application was submitted by the Community Development Trust last year, with the support of councillors and Mid Scotland and Fife MSPs.

“Now that much of the groundwork has been prepared it will be ready and available should any other funding become available.

“Meantime I will continue to work with the community and liaise with both Transport Scotland and the Department for Transport to ensure that future funding pots are known about and can be applied for.”

A spokesman for the Department of Transport said a number of factors were considered during the bidding process.

Annual footfall, the numbers of disabled passengers using the station, nearby hospitals and the availability of third party funding were also considered.

Camapigners, however, are not giving up and will now look to a further £20m tranche of funding which is to be made available as part of a Mid Tier Access For All programme.