THE MP for North Shropshire, Owen Paterson, has pushed for government funding to improve disabled access at Whitchurch train station.

The Government recently announced £4 billion in funding to 'level up' and strengthen communities, specifically aimed at investing in local infrastructure and support economic recovery.

Following the revealment of this funding, Mr Paterson wrote to Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, to direct some of this funding towards Whitchurch station.

Currently, there is no disabled access for the station's south-bound platform, with any wishing to use the platform having to travel up to Crewe first or traversing the footbridge.

Last year the station missed out on funding to improve stations, despite a long-running campaign from Whitchurch Town Council.

In his letter to Mr Sunak, Mr Paterson said he felt Whitchurch's station was an 'ideal candidate' for upgrading.

"In your statement, you specifically mentioned that upgrades to railway stations would be prime projects for the new fund," he said.

"In that respect, I believe that Whitchurch railway station in my constituency is an ideal candidate.

"Mobility is a central factor in people's economic, social and cultural lives.

"In many cases, people depend upon trains to access key services.

"However, the southbound platform at Whitchurch can presently be reached only by footbridge, making it completely inaccessible for people in wheelchairs or with other mobility difficulties, as well as for those with pushchairs.

"Clearly, this is an unacceptable situation for which improvements are overdue.

"Such improvements would command widespread community support.

"Whitchurch Town Council and the Shropshire Disability Network have already examined a number of potential options, including a new footpath to allow for direct access to the southbound platform.

"In 2018, Network Rail confirmed that if funding was made available, they would be delighted to work with industry partners to make Whitchurch a fully accessible station.

"I understand that local areas will be able to bid directly to fund local projects in the new year, so I would be grateful if you could set out the criteria by which such bids will be judged in order that we can secure funding for this much-needed and wholly beneficial project."