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New lift makes Hassocks railway station accessible to everyone

Catherine Cassidy, Kevin  Carey and Nick Herbert opening the new lift at Hassocks railway station

Catherine Cassidy, Kevin Carey and Nick Herbert opening the new lift at Hassocks railway station

A new lift was opened in Hassocks on Friday (May 2) to make the railway station accessible to everyone.

The ribbon was cut by Kevin Carey, chairman of the Royal Institute for Blind People along with Catherine Cassidy, chairman of the Hassocks Amenity Association Rail Group and MP Nick Herbert.

The Arundel and South Downs MP said: “It’s a public facility that is available for all, that’s why the lift is so important.

“We used to have a crummy station, it was unacceptable because it was inaccessible, thank goodness that era has changed.”

“Catherine Cassidy has spent years tirelessly campaigning, all credit to her,” the MP added.

The new lift comes after years of campaigns from the community, and makes it possible for people with disabilities to use the station.

Mr Carey said: “For 14 years every survey has told us that access to public transport is the top priority.

“If blind people can’t get out we can’t work, we can’t socialise,” he explained.

“Without reliable public transport we can’t function.”

The lift opens a year after the station was redeveloped.

Mrs Cassidy said: “The railway staff has listened to the community.

“It’s a station that is fit for all and fit for the future.”

It now has 24 hour surveillance and brickwork to match the neighbouring Victorian cottages.

She continued: “It’s tremendous, it will help the elderly with mobility, cyclists, mums with buggies and people with suitcases.”

She described the opening of the station last year as ‘a dream come true’ for the community, and said that the addition of a lift is ‘beyond their dreams’.

Iris Allen, who uses a mobility scooter, said it is nice to now have the option to travel to Brighton or London, and she can now travel to Burgess hill without the worry that her scooter will run out of battery on the way.

“That would be a real nuisence,” she added.

Chairman of Hassocks Parish Council Gordon Maples said: “It’s 20 years overdue, the station was past its sell by date, it’s been a massive community effort.”

 

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