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Councillor calls on government to reconsider railway ticket office closure plans

A senior St Helens Borough Councillor has expressed concerns over central government proposals to close a number of railway ticket offices in the borough.

Council crest

Article date: 6 July 2023

As part of the proposals announced today (Thursday 6 July), ticket offices at Earlestown, Eccleston Park, Garswood, Lea Green, Newton-le-Willows, Rainhill, St Helens Junction, Thatto Heath would all be permanently closed.   

The government says the proposals will modernise customer service, moving to self-service machines and contactless cards.   

Objecting to the plans, Councillor Seve Gomez-Aspron MBE, Deputy Leader of St Helens Borough Council and Cabinet Member for Strategic Transport, said:  

"Public and passenger reassurance is heavily reliant on a public facing member of staff, particularly the elderly and people with disabilities and mobility issues, so to close all but one ticket office here has the potential to take away the independence of a large number of residents who rely on public transport.   

"As a council, we recognise the significant influence our borough has played throughout history - arguably being the birthplace of the railway -which is why we have successfully lobbied for improvements in our infrastructure, resulting in state-of-the-art stations at Newton-le-Willows and Lea Green which is being built now with a ticket office that will never open.   

"They've closed the ticket offices in most cases before the consultation period has even started. I call on the government to reconsider these unpopular plans and would urge residents to take part in the consultation to make their feelings known too."   

Councillor Gomez-Aspron will submit a motion on the matter at the next St Helens Borough Council full council meeting to allow the council to respond within the 21-day consultation period.