Harlow Council leader comes out against ticket office closures at railway stations
News / Mon 25th Sep 2023 at 09:47am
THE LEADER of Harlow Council has written to the boss of Greater Anglia urging him to reconsider proposals to close Harlow Town station ticket office.
Councillor Dan Swords has published the letter to the Managing Director of Great Anglia, Jamie Burles (see below).
The publication has come after Labour councillor Tony Edwards brought the subject up at last Thursday’s council meeting and invited the leader to “publicly condemn proposals to close the ticket office”
Letter from Councillor Swords to Mr Burles.
I am writing to raise the very many concerns of Harlow residents with regard to the proposal to consider closing the ticket office at Harlow Town station.
I have heard first hand from many residents, particularly vulnerable and disabled, about their deep and sincere concerns with these proposals. It is evident that the proposal would mean a significant change to the way many residents use the station, and I share the worry of many residents that this would not be a positive change.
Whilst I do support modernisation of the railway to improve services, I do not agree that closing the ticket office achieves this. On the contrary, I fear it will leave passengers worse off and without proper service and assistance. I understand from the consultation that there are not proposed job losses but were this to be the case it would not only degrade the service but have a devastating impact on those employees.
Therefore, I urge you to reconsider the proposal to close the ticket office at Harlow Town Station and to engage in meaningful dialogue with the community, passengers, and stakeholders to improve the services you provide for Harlow residents.
I would also like to invite you to Harlow to meet with concerned residents and campaign groups as soon as possible to discuss this matter further.
The closure of ticket offices is being done by all train companies because the Conservative government have told them to do it. So it's a bit rich Conservative Councillor Dan Swords writing to the train company to object. His letter would be better sent to the Minister for Transport from his own party.
Here is the question I asked at the Council meeting :- Noting 1. the increasing number of Councils of all political persuasions that are opposed to the closure of Railway Ticket Offices, including for example Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, Worcestershire, Luton, Leicestershire, Reading, Warrington, Southwark, Nottingham City Council, Mole Valley, Worthing, North East Lincolnshire, East Yorkshire, South Gloucestershire. and 2. That over 3000 local people signed a Harlow SOTO petition and hundreds responded to a post card campaign. Will the Leader of the Council now condemn the proposed closure of Harlow Town Railway Ticket Office and publicly call for it to remain open?
It’s not clear if this is a personal letter or on behalf of the council. It should be from the leader of the council with support from all councillors regardless of political views. Not sure why he ducked the question from the labour councillor at full council.
Dan swords, James Leppard. Anything to add. ???