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Bradford's Forster Square Station Branded An 'Absolute Disgrace'

The Cheapside entrance, which has the station's only lift access, has been shut for most of this week.

One of Bradford’s main rail stations has been branded an “absolute disgrace” after one of its main entrances remained shut for days.

The Cheapside entrance to Bradford Forster Square Station, and the only lift access, has been shut for much of the week.

People attempting to access the station by this entrance are greeted by a crudely written sign saying “doors broken” affixed to the glass doors by masking tape. It means they have to enter via the ramped entrance next to the Midland Hotel.

The lack of progress in fixing the entrance has led to a major backlash against its operator Northern Rail.

The company has said the lift was shut due to vandalism that took place earlier this month, and that a firm of engineers had been commissioned to fix the facility.

There were no visible repair works being carried out each time the Local Democracy Reporting Service visited the station this week.
Even when operating, the lift at the station shuts at 7pm.

Si Cunningham, Chair of Bradford Civic Society, sent an open letter to Northern and Network Rail, reading:

“Many of our members are frequent users of Bradford Forster Square station, but are growing increasingly frustrated – not simply by the state of the concourse and facilities, but by the perceived apathy to remedy the situation on the part of Network Rail and Northern Railway.

“The state of this railway station is an absolute disgrace and is beginning to negatively impact other parts of the city centre. I would like to see immediate improvements to Forster Square station as well as a timetable for when wider works are expected to begin. I would also like Northern in particular to commit to extending the opening hours of the lift facility beyond 7pm so that those with accessibility needs are afforded the same rights as others when using the station.”

Many city centre workers have been sharing photos of the broken door on Twitter.

Ruth Frost said: “How long do you think they’d leave the south entrance to Leeds station shut while they fixed a door?”

She pointed out that anyone with mobility issues would have to walk up the ramped access to exit the station.

Responding to a Tweet about the repairs, Simon Cooke, former leader of the Conservatives on Bradford Council, said:

“Meanwhile Leeds station gets another huge investment. So much for the ‘city region.’”

A spokesman for Northern Rail said:

“With regard to the lift shaft at Forster Square, we have commissioned a firm of engineers to repair the damage caused by vandalism earlier this month. This is a comprehensive piece of work and they are undertaking an assessment to understand the exact requirements of the repair job.

“Whilst the lift shaft entrance remains closed, there is ample alternative access via other entrances.

“On the question of possible longer opening hours for the lifts, due to the threat of damage, we can only provide the lifts whilst we have members of staff on site. With local partners, we are examining whether there are opportunities to extend the lift hours. But there is no guarantee we will be able to make any changes in the foreseeable future.”

West Yorkshire Combined Authority has announced a £17.3 million project to completely upgrade the station, but it will not be completed until December 2021.

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