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Is The New Station Really Worth It?

A protest involving over twenty taxi cabs at Bromsgrove train station on Wednesday 10th February was caused by an unexpected closure to the taxi rank in the station.  The closure was due to the construction works at the new station which left many taxi drivers in Bromsgrove more than a little annoyed and, even after a week, a solution which the drivers consider to be satisfactory is still to be found. However, this does lead to many questioning whether Bromsgrove’s new train station is really worth the hassle and the money.

For the most recent incident, the taxi rank in dispute is a temporary area created last year in advance of the existing spaces in the station being consumed by the building works for the new station.  When local councillors complained that said spaces were not being used, they were quickly converted back into standard parking.

On the 11th February an emergency meeting was held involving representatives from Bromsgrove district council, developers from network rail and Worcester country council, who are managing the development of the new station, to investigate changing the parking of the current station to accommodate taxis. It should be noted that the new train station will have permanent parking spaces for taxis. This deal was hoped to appease the drivers, but will not come into place for four to five weeks, which the taxi drivers say is not good enough.

The argument for Martin Humphrey, a local taxi driver, is that the drivers say that they pick up large amounts of elderly and  disabled people as well as those with luggage, and that those people are not going to be able to get around from the station easily. He also said that when the new spaces are put in place, many people are unlikely to see the taxis and subsequently will not use them. He described the actions which the council took as “disgusting.” He did not state his opinions on the new station.

Currently Bromsgrove’s main taxi rank, which is located in the town centre, is also being affected by the closure at the station with it overflowing with taxis, as all drivers are losing some business due to the abundance of drivers compared to the number of customers in the town centre. This is quite a substantial, negative effect of the new station being built for all of Bromsgrove’s taxi drivers.

But was this fuss all really worth it? Is this new train station worth all of the problems it is, has, or will be causing, including the incident with the taxis? The truth we will find out once it is completed, but different people seem to have strong thoughts on what it may be, as people who are being affected by many of the problems would argue not, but lots of people who use the train often, who catch it from Bromsgrove, would argue that it is.

People who argue against the building of a new station in Bromsgrove may do so for many reasons, however many of those would argue so because they are personally being affected by the construction, or what long term problems the new station will cause. These problems include things such as increased traffic problems due to temporary traffic lights or construction vehicles and also problems such as increased noise due to the construction works, which is particularly problematic at night for anybody near the construction site. The traffic problems, though quite smaller, will still exist after the station will be completed. Though people would generally put up with this if the results are good enough, they may consider the positive effects of the new station to just be too little, as ultimately it is only just down the road from the current station, has a ticket office, which may be closed in the future, and the platforms are longer, as well two new platforms being added, but still not that long. Considering £15 million has been spent on the project, many could question whether they are getting value for money.

However, the argument for why the new station is worth it, is that these improvements are worth it and will benefit everybody who uses the station. This include being able to get tickets easier through the ticket office, trains being less busy because larger, longer trains will be able to stop at the longer platforms on the station and also because there will now be effectively four platforms, double the current amount. The parking will also have a higher capacity as the current station will be converted into parking. Another improvement is the new train station will be fully accessible for the disabled, as it has lifts on the footbridge, which the current station is not due to the footbridge required to get to the second platform. This in particular is quite important as it was a major flaw in the previous station, and in my opinion, should have been rectified many years ago.

Upon contacting Bromsgrove’s local MP, Sajid Javid, who is also Business Secretary, he provided the following response:

“I campaigned for this station investment as a vital upgrade for Bromsgrove residents.

 It will improve access with more frequent trains, lifts, secure car parking, a staffed station with toilets and retail facility.

As I’m sure other residents will agree, I am now looking forward to seeing our new station up, running and bringing further investment to Bromsgrove”.

The likelihood is that the majority of Bromsgrove’s residents are in agreement with him, else the plans would not have been approved. However this does not mean that all the expected benefits are going to be as great as expected, but most would still agree that the new train station will provide important benefits for Bromsgrove. I am mostly in agreement with this, and this should, in my opinion, make Bromsgrove a better place to live for age groups who are unable to drive such as under 18’s especially as well as the elderly and disabled.

In conclusion, the new train station for Bromsgrove, due to open later this year, is located down the road for the current one and will cost around £15 million to build, but does have multiple improvements on the previous including a ticket office, a higher number of longer platforms. The new station has been causing multiple problems including those related to traffic, with the most recent problem being with Bromsgrove’s taxis. Despite what many may think, or predict, we will find out just what benefits, or problems, the new train bring, or cause respectively.

By Anthony (Year 9)