A RESTRICTIVE train station in Reading that has long been the subject of petitions to get disabled access will finally see a revamp after a five-year campaign.

Tilehurst train station was opened in 1882 and sits on the Great Western Railway with services running to Reading and London Paddington in the east and Didcot Parkway in the west.

Neighbours have been campaigning for lifts to be provided at the station since 2018.

Now, it has finally been announced that a planning application for the lifts has been submitted to Reading Borough Council. Once it is approved, work can begin on building the lifts and to help offer disabled access across the platforms.

While the application has not appeared on the council's planning portal because it has not been validated yet, councillor Mark Keeping (Labour, Kentwood) has been notified that the plan is in the validation process.

Cllr Keeping said: “Those with disabilities, parents with young children and people with walking difficulties have all been excluded from using this station, meaning they have to go three and a half miles to get to the main Reading station and the town centre.

“Use of public transport should be encouraged and making it accessible improves that, so it’s a win win.

“A waiting room has been built with disabled access but people have not been able to use it.

“If a wheelchair user were able to get off there they would be unable to leave the platform because there are no lifts.

“So that room can be brought into proper use once the project is complete.”

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A petition by Reading Labour calling for lifts to be installed at Tilehurst station created in 2018 received 1,298 signatures, with 1,082 people signing an e-petition on change.org and 216 people signing a physical petition.

These signatures were gathered by cllr Glenn Dennis former cllr Daya Pal Singh (both Labour, Kentwood), and cllr Keeping before he was elected a councillor in the 2022 elections.

The push to get lifts at Tilehurst station has been a bipartisan effort, with Sir Alok Sharma, the Conservative MP for Reading West also campaigning for accessible lifts.

CGIs for the lifts were revealed by Network Rail after £4 million of funding from the Department of Transport was approved in March.

Reading Chronicle: A CGI of the lifts design at Tilehurst train station. Credit: Dyer & Butler / VEDAA CGI of the lifts design at Tilehurst train station. Credit: Dyer & Butler / VEDA

Welcoming the news of the funding approval, Sir Alok said: “Having campaigned for many years for funding for Tilehurst station, I am absolutely delighted that final funding for construction at Tilehurst station has been approved.

“Working with Network Rail and Great Western Railway, I have lobbied the Department for Transport extensively to ensure that funding is provided for the installation of lifts.

“This is vitally important for many local commuters, particularly wheelchair users and parents with pushchairs and buggies, so I am delighted that we are one step closer to finally improving accessibility at Tilehurst station.”

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The application has been submitted for prior approval.

Once the application for the lifts is validated, you can view it by typing reference 230589 into the council’s planning portal.

The station is located in the Kentwood ward of Reading Borough.