I received confirmation from the Department for Transport today (04 April 2019) that Flint will become one of only 73 stations across the UK to receive funding to improve accessibility at its station.
Following the announcement by Network Rail that a pot of £300m was to be made available for stations across the UK to further extend the Access for All programme between 2019-2024, I wrote to Network Rail placing a bid for Flint to receive funding.
Access for All was launched by the last Labour Government in 2006 and has installed accessible, step free routes at over 200 stations, opening up new access to rail journeys. Passengers using another 1,500 stations have also benefited from smaller scale access improvements because of this scheme.
Since the introduction of this Labour scheme 75% of rail journeys are now through step-free stations, compared to only 50% in 2005.
My nomination for Flint station was one of over 300.
Flint station will now be, subject to a feasible design being possible, receive an accessible route into the station, as well as to and between both platforms. All work at the stations receiving the funding is due to be completed by the end of March 2024.
This is excellent news for Flint and rail passengers from all over Delyn. As soon as I heard that funding was being made available I put in an application as Flint desperately needed upgrading to ensure that everyone could use it no matter what their mobility levels. As many of you will already know, the only way to access both platforms from the ticket office is via two footbridges. These do not have step-free access and mean that people wanting to have step-free access have to take a huge detour under the railway line.
Being one of only 73 railway stations in the country to receive this funding is a big vote of confidence in Flint station. It shows that Network Rail see the importance of our station and how it needs to be part of the modernisation of the network. This is the first step in making the North Wales coastal railway truly accessible for all.
Investment in our railway network is of the utmost importance. Going forward I want to see us unlock direct routes between our network and Liverpool so that we can benefit from the economic growth in our largest nearest city. I will continue to lobby Transport for Wales and Network Rail to see Delyn’s railways deliver even better services.
Today (08.03.2019) I visited the newly refurbished Flint Balti on Chester Street to see the excellent work that has been done to introduce a new menu and restaurant.
Flint Balti, which is under new management, will be open seven days a week (Sun-Sat: 5pm-11pm, including bank holidays). They will deliver (minimum order £20 with a small delivery charge of £2.50 or £3 for over 3 miles) and can also cater for parties and bookings are welcome. Read more “Newly reopenned Flint Balti”
Last week I visited the new Screwfix store in Flint to meet new staff and welcome the business to the area.
Screwfix will open its new store on Thursday 14 February 2019 and will be offering 10% discount on opening.
Screwfix is the UK’s largest multi-channel retailer of trade tools, accessories and hardware products. It was founded in 1979 as the Woodscrew Supply Company, the company was acquired in July 1999 by Kingfisher PLC, who also own B&Q, and is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
Nationally, Screwfix employs 7,131 people (2017) and the new store in Flint has brought with it more jobs.
It is excellent to welcome a new retailer to Flint. It will provide our town with jobs and ensure that those who need access to top-quality tools and equipment will be able to use a local retailer. This can only be good news for our town’s economy.
Going forward I want to see us build upon this good news. When towns up and down the country are struggling we need to look at the success stories so that we can learn and adapt them for ourselves. We have seen in Holywell how its digital high street initiative is supporting local businesses and how Mold is working hard to attract tourists through its heritage.
Flint is a hub of history for North Wales, with talented and skilled people. Businesses would be hard pressed to find a better area to locate themselves in.
I have pressed the minister for Transport in Parliament this week to call for investment in accessibility at Flint railway station.
Currently, Network Rail are undertaking a review of train stations across the network to ensure that stations with poor levels of accessibility are improved. This is part of the UK Government Inclusive Transport Strategy announced 25 July 2018 which released up to £300m of funding to complete the programme.
I contacted Network Rail to support a bid in for funding to improve Flint station as currently the only way to get from the car park to the eastbound platform is to either cross one of two footbridges, neither of which have ramp access, or to walk under the railway line and up Corporation Street.
Nominations are now being considered and it is hoped that Flint will be one of the stations that will gain investment.
Flint is an important railway station for our community. We have seen a great deal of investment in the number of journeys that can be undertaken from it after years of campaigning from myself and local pressure groups. The last piece of the jigsaw puzzle is for the station to get much needed investment.
Our public transport system should be accessible to all and currently Flint station is falling far short of where I, and many passengers, would like to see it. The distance between the car park and the southside platform is too long without use of the footbridges and we need investment to improve this now.
I welcomed the minister’s response in the Commons and hope that we can keep up pressure and get the investment our station deserves.