Wymondham Station Access Campaign

With a proper plan for Wymondham Station, this wonderfully historic site could be transformed into a stunning ‘gateway’ for tourists and residents, as well as for companies and investors on their way to the nearby Research Park, but who don’t want to travel all the way to Norwich Station and then fight their way through the city’s terrible traffic.

Proper access for ALL to both platforms of Wymondham Station MUST be an early step in that process however and that’s why I have taken the lack of step-free access to Platform 2 so seriously, sharing the widespread local anger and frustration that, after so many years, it remains inaccessible to so many.

Back in 2018, tired of the endless delays and “obstacles” that had prevented progress being made by the key stakeholders despite previous site visits and summits that I had convened, I re-energised the campaign once again, reconvening the Taskforce I had previously established and securing universal agreement amongst the key stakeholders involved (South Norfolk Council, Network Rail, Greater Anglia, Wymondham Town Council and private landowners) that the issue needed resolving as quickly as possible. They all reaffirmed their commitment to working together in order to deliver a solution and, over the next couple of years, significant progress was made:

  • Network Rail agreed to shorten the length of their sidings on the south side of Wymondham Station to make the necessary room for a step-free access solution
  • Both Network Rail and Greater Anglia worked collaboratively to develop initial plans and drawings for a step-free access solution preferred option
  • In 2020, South Norfolk Council, with the vocal support of myself and many others, successfully secured £600,000 as part of the Greater Norwich Transforming Cities Fund towards the step-free improvement works.

In 2021, with many increasingly anxious that progress had yet to be made, I spoke again to Greater Anglia (who are responsible for Wymondham Station itself). They reaffirmed that step-free access improvements to Platform 2 remained an urgent priority and explained that they were in the process of completing the necessary delivery studies – with a target date of Spring 2022 set.

Unfortunately however, just when it appeared that further progress was going to be made, Network Rail had to reject the preferred option for delivering step-free access to Platform 2 – informing the Taskforce that they now needed to retain slightly more of the sidings than had originally been thought. They explained that, while absolutely committed to the improvement works, they also need to ensure they could use their sidings moving forward – so as to be able to keep on top of track maintenance. Other landowners also expressed concern about releasing more land than they would desire – land which might make one of the other options easier to deliver.

In autumn 2022, sharing in the growing local frustration that key stakeholders were struggling to overcome the latest obstacles and that Platform 2 still lacked a step-free access solution, South Norfolk Council and I convened another series of (ongoing) summits to “knock heads together” and aim to get momentum moving forward again. As part of that work:

  • South Norfolk Council undertook to speak with the various landowners around Platform 2 to see if a solution can be found that releases more land for a step-free access solution.
  • South Norfolk Council (with the support of myself and other stakeholders) agreed to actively explore a wider regeneration package for the entire station – one that would transform all of the buildings and surrounding land into the proper ‘gateway’ to the town that it has long been envisioned it should be, with 5G community and business spaces, as well as additional public transport. Step-free access to Platform 2 would very much be the first stage of that scheme.
  • I wrote to the Secretary of State for Transport to highlight the importance of the scheme (and the wider regeneration package) to the broader Nor-Cam Innovation Corridor – with Wymondham Station a natural ‘gateway’ to the likes of Hethel and the Norwich Research Park (unlike Norwich Station). I have also emphasised the importance of ensuring the committed £600,000 is not “clawed-back” by Whitehall – with it key to unlocking further investment into the station.
  • Greater Anglia, with Network Rail, have submitted a bid to the Government’s Access for All scheme – with the hope of securing funds for a bridge and lift solution at the station too.

While this is a complex case, it is simply unacceptable that, after so many years, platform 2 remains inaccessible for so many – particularly the disabled and those in wheelchairs, but also those pushing wheelchairs or even just trying to take a bike.

I share the widespread anger, concern and frustration and remain committed to seeing this one get over the line – as rapidly as possible.

Please see the webstories below for more information on the work I am doing to finally get this issue addressed.

Wymondham Station Access - Latest News