2 August 2017
DJN/VS for the North Herts and Stevenage Green Party
Rail users in Hitchin who live South or East of the railway station have to access the station using a narrow walkway, under the Cambridge Road railway bridge. The 82 new flats at the college site and 700 dwellings planned for Highover will make it even more crowded. It’s not known if there is accessibility for mobility scooters. We believe it discourages everyday walking to the station.
The issue has popped up in Hitchin transport plans several times over the years, including the latest Transport Plan (May 2011) where it is described as “poor access”, “very poor and potentially dangerous”. The options that have been considered include a footbridge, a one-way system and a subway but these have been dismissed as “not feasible”. We think there’s another option to throw into the mix, which is walking access to Platform 1 (London-bound) via St Michael’s Road and some (apparently) unused sidings.
Reasons given for not doing anything (ever) include not enough space; a need for 3rd party land; steep slopes; impact on rail and highway services; and obtaining Network Rail approval. These objections need to be properly explored and overcome by talking to all stakeholders and finding a way forward.
The North Herts and Stevenage Green Party are committed to getting better walking access to Hitchin railway station. We’ve already identified possible sources of funding, are in communication with Network Rail and are building an irrefutable case for change. Please get in touch if you have an interest or a comment.
A Walking Britain
The Green Party has a “hierarchy of modes of transport” with walking and cycling as our top priorities. Walking is intrinsic to health and enhances our connection with Nature. Our Manifesto transport section calls for investment in low traffic neighbourhoods, with safe convenient routes for walking and cycling, and equality of access to Nature and green spaces.