Access for All has delivered step-free, accessible routes at more than 200 stations since it was launched in 2006, and a further 19 stations are currently under construction. To build on that success we have made a further £300 million available to extend the programme, and 300 stations have been nominated for that funding. I expect to announce the successful stations in April.
I thank my hon. Friend for that answer, and one station to be nominated is Hillside station in my constituency. My hon. Friend highlighted the criteria that will be used, but does she agree that stations such as Hillside, which play host to less frequent sporting events such as the Open at Royal Birkdale, which hosted 235,000 spectators, should be taken into account when these applications are decided upon?
My hon. Friend will be pleased to know that Hillside station has indeed been nominated. When preparing for nominations, the industry was asked to include any relevant factors, and Hillside’s nomination included details of the Open. Every factor will be given due weight during the ongoing selection process, and all I can say for now is that I hope there will be good news for my hon. Friend and his constituents in April.
We have £300 million available at the moment and we have received 300 nominations. All the issues that the right hon. Gentleman has raised will be taken into account. It is important to note that journeys with step-free access have increased from 50% in 2015 to 75% today.
As the Minister knows, if someone wants to get from one platform at Beeston station to the other, the advice is to take a taxi all the way round, which is wholly unacceptable. I am grateful for her acceptance of that fact, and we also bid for funding. Last year she agreed to come to Beeston station to see it for herself. Can she now assure me that she will certainly come before Easter?
My right hon. Friend knows that we have spoken about Beeston on a number of occasions, and I apologise for having failed to visit the station already. I will do my very best to accompany her to Beeston station in the near future.
I cannot provide that assurance right here and now. We had 300 nominations and the decisions will be made in April. If the station was nominated—I do not have the list in front of me—I will ensure that it is considered as efficiently as possible.