Campaigning to improve access to the built environment for people with disabilities
Our Aim is to make and keep Brentwood Borough Accessible for All. This includes paved areas and parks, all public buildings, shops, cafes, restaurants, churches, buses, taxi’s and railway stations
Help us shape the future accessibility of our Borough
We meet every two months’ to discuss current issues that have been brought to our attention from residents that may be disabled or able bodied.
A plan of action is agreed, we then take steps such as; letters, contact with Councillors MP, County Hall or face to face with Council Officers. We are very persistent.
It is believed that the Brentwood Access Group was formed some time between 1970 and 1982.
(Nobody thought to date the original Constitution).
Audrey Fowles was the woman who started us off, she had contracted polio and was confined to a wheelchair all the years I knew her.
A great far- sighted lady who realised just how unfriendly the built environment was for people with disabilities. She was followed by Jenny Duncombe who was secretary and driving force for many years.
We are affiliated to the Council for Voluntary Services and sit on ECC planning groups for people with disabilities, representing Brentwood.
Over the approx 38 years the Group has been campaigning we have seen many changes, not all to the good. Some of our most successful local action has been:
Our present ongoing campaign over the last 3 years has been to get a lift installed at platform 4 at Brentwood station. This is proving to be our most difficult challenge yet.
There is a lift for the other 2 platforms but platform 4 is an engineering problem.
We have proposed another site but it is on Essex County Council land, although County have said this is not a problem Network Rail and the Dept for Transport say there is no need for a lift the pathway route is acceptable and there is no budget anyway.
How anyone can say that the long uphill slope to the crossing in Kings Road then back to the crossing outside the station is acceptable for people with mobility problems or in a self propelled wheelchair is astounding and a shameful lack of understanding.
Our former MP Sir Eric Pickles worked with us on this project, as is our current MP, Alex Burghart. In November 2018 we met Alex and Charlotte Rose from the BBC at the station to explain our campaign. This led to a live interview on BBC Radio Essex and a report on Sunday Politics, BBC1, 18th November. Click here to see the TV interview.
BRENTWOOD STATION – PLATFORM 4 – IMPORTANT UPDATE
There is new advice that affects customers who park in one of the Blue Badge bays at platform 4, use ‘Turn up and Go’ assistance and wish to travel to (or towards) London as there is currently no level, step free access from platform 4 to the other platforms. A lift needs to be installed to provide such access.
Platform staff at Brentwood are currently (May 2019) being briefed on this new advice. A spokesman for the rail operator said ‘in the interim the advice is now;
1. Buy a ticket at the platform 4 gate line. (You can use your Disabled Persons Railcard here as well) If you need assistance to catch a London bound train, inform the staff. They will help you board a train to Shenfield, where Elizabeth line trains terminates.
2. The staff at Brentwood will call ahead to Shenfield, they will check to ensure you either stay on the same train as it returns, or move across to another platform. Most likely, you will stay on board.
3. Staff at Shenfield will call the station that you wish to alight at to arrange your assistance, ensuring they meet you from the correct carriage and train.
As the journey to Shenfield and back to Brentwood is because there is no level step free access at platform 4, this will be free for the person requiring assistance and their carer provided they have a valid ticket for the London bound journey.
If you are asked by the TfL revenue team while on board from Brentwood and return, please show them your ticket and explain you are using our ‘Turn Up and Go’ facility from Brentwood.
This advice change came about following negotiations between the rail operator and Brentwood Access Group. Brentwood Access Group welcome this interim change, but it only helps customers departing from platform 4, not those arriving and want to catch a bus.
If you wish to ‘Turn up and Go’ you must liaise with station staff at Brentwood to use this service. It will involve a longer journey, but it is at least feasible – which for anyone with reduced mobility, the stairs or 200 + metre uphill climb are not. There has to be a lift at platform 4, or despite the £17billion being spent on Crossrail, every Elizabeth Line station will have step free level access except-Brentwood.
We always have to be vigilant when it comes to creeping shop signs and broken footpaths as both can be dangerous for the mobility impaired, visually impaired and wheelchair/scooter user
Physically attend out bi - monthly meetings which is always in an accessible venue with parking.
Become a virtual member by keeping in touch using the Internet, Facebook and emails. You would receive a regular newsletter and the minutes and agenda for all the meetings in advance so you can send in any comments before the meeting takes place.
An affiliated group. If you belong to a specific disability group, in Brentwood, the whole group can be affiliated to BAG and send a representative to the meetings.
MEMBERSHIP IS FREE BUT DONATIONS/ SPONSORSHIPS KEEP US ACTIVE. See contact to be in touch.