An open letter to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Tobias Ellwood, MP for Bournemouth East

I AM writing to you regarding Pokesdown Railway Station and the franchise held by South Western Railway (SWR).

We have been campaigning for the basic rights to enable everyone to access and use our local station for some time, and are deeply concerned over recent developments.

As part of the franchise won by SWR there was a requirement to install lifts and make the station fit for purpose. "The franchisee shall procure that by no later than 31 December 2019 ... new commissioned and operational lifts (one on each platform) so that such footbridge is fully accessible to passengers with impaired mobility."

SWR won the franchise fairly, beating rivals fully aware of this condition and the costs associated. Not only have they missed their deadlines, it seems they are now likely to fold or ask for a new franchise.

This latest news has added a concern that we might end up back at square one.

We urge you to uphold the condition of the franchise to make Pokesdown Railway Station accessible. We seek assurances that in the event of SWR ceasing to trade, or a new franchise being offered, you will stipulate this condition is retained.

We do not want any future operator, private or public, to be able to circumvent these obligations.

SWR's behaviour has been poor at meeting their obligations and we hope you do not let this development slide due to the poor management of a public asset by this enterprise.

Ben Smith - Pokesdown Station Campaign

Pokesdown Community Forum

Boscombe Community Forum

Southbourne Community Forum

Access Dorset

Cllr Andy Jones

Cllr George Farquhar