25 July 2018Nusrat Ghani MP, a Minister in the Department for Transport, visited Chester today to promote the government’s new Inclusive Transport Strategy.
Chester is widely regarded as one of the most accessible cities for those with mobility problems. It was the first in Britain to win the prestigious European Access City Award, and the Minister was keen to experience for herself what it has done to become an internationally recognised area of best practice
Accompanied by Councillor Samantha Dixon, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, she was given a tour of the city’s new Bus Interchange; including many of its accessibility features, which were developed in consultation with the local Corporate Disability Access Forum. Representatives of the group introduced the on-site Changing Places facility - offering suitable space and equipment for people with a wide range of disabilities - and its tactile city ‘Map For All,’ for blind and visually-impaired passengers. The Bus Interchange, which operates 24 hours a day, was funded through a Local Growth Fund by the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership
The European Access City Awards not only recognises and celebrates a city’s willingness, ability and efforts to become more accessible, but highlights those which have clear plans for further improvements, and Councillor Dixon was keen to discuss an ongoing Transforming Cities Fund bid with the Minister. This fund provides an opportunity for Chester to further enhance transport connections across the borough, and beyond its boundaries into Wales and the Mersey Dee area.
Councillor Dixon said: “Our Transforming Cities submission crosses national boundaries, but it retains a focus on the transport benefits for Cheshire West and Chester - including rail, cycling and pedestrian routes, electric buses and charging points at Park and Ride sites. It would make a considerable difference both to our local networks and our wider connectivity; increasing productivity, improving access to jobs and services, and enabling significant local economic growth. I have welcomed the opportunity to discuss this further with Nusrat Ghani MP and proud to once again showcase Chester as a city which prioritises accessibility and inclusivity to all.”
Graham Garnett, Cllr Samantha Dixon, Janet Hutchinson, Nusrat Ghani MP, Penny Scott, Steven Brooke MBE