Leeds station entrance legal fight by disabled

BATTLE: Phil Gleeson and Tim McSharry in front of the proposed new entrance. PIC: Steve Riding
BATTLE: Phil Gleeson and Tim McSharry in front of the proposed new entrance. PIC: Steve Riding
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A group of disabled people from Leeds are mounting a ‘David and Goliath’ style legal case against rail chiefs, over access plans for a new entrance for Leeds rail station.

Campaigners say access plans for the new £15.9m south entrance to Leeds station, due to open next summer, discriminates against people who are disabled.

They say a drop-off and pick up point especially for train passengers among the 130,000 disabled people in Leeds, should be included. The group has named Network Rail chief executive Sir David Higgins in their discrimination claim, which has been filed at Leeds County Court, for failure to comply with the Equality act 2010. A judge will then preside over their claim before deciding if they have a case.

Campaign spokesman Tim McSharry, of the Access Committee for Leeds, said: “We’re not after money or compensation but their plans are simply unfair and purely discriminate against disabled people. We want to see a drop off and pick up point so disabled people can access the new entrance. Why should they be forced to use the front entrance then negotiate a long trek using lifts to reach the southern platforms for Manchester trains.”

He added: “We’re disappointed that Sir David Higgins has not been able to bring a new focus to the matter and that we now have to pursue the case through Leeds County Court.”

A Network Rail spokesman said the possibility of a drop-off point on Little Neville Street was rejected on the grounds of public safety. He said: “The new southern entrance includes step-free access, through provision of a lift and ramps, to all platforms.

“The new entrance is a non-vehicular access to supplement the two vehicle access points already in existence at the station; the taxi rank at New Station Street and public car park and drop-off point off Aire Street.”

HELPING HAND: Ben Wilson, MD at MPM, with Victoria Hopkins, MD at Hopkins Catering. PIC: Tony Johnson

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