An application to the Access for All programme must be accompanied by a Governance for Railways Investment Projects (GRIP 1 and 2) study involving a description of the work to be carried out, how such work might affect existing railway infrastructure and how such work might be carried out.
GRIP 1 having already been undertaken by Network Rail, enquiries by FoHS revealed that the costs of the GRIP 2 study were likely to be in the region of £20,000. FoHS were grateful to receive grants of £10,000 from Cheshire East Council, £5,000 from the Seedcorn funds of Northern Rail and £5,000 from Handforth Parish Council. These grants enabled the commissioning of the GRIP 2 study by GDH Livigunn – a part of the GHD Livigunn global engineering consultancy. The GRIP 2 study required a topographical report on the station and its immediate environment and an ecological survey of land adjacent to the platforms.
FoHS were delighted that the topographical report was provided free of charge by Survey Systems Ltd and the ecological survey report was provided free of charge by two local graduate biologists.
In addition, two accessibility studies were undertaken: one by the Macclesfield-based Disability Information Bureau and the other by the Handforth Mobility and Access Group, based on a model developed by the Centre for Accessible Environments … these were also submitted.
The GRIP 2 study report recommended the installation of a pair of lifts at an estimated cost of over £2m.
Once the GRIP 2 report had been received, officers of FoHS began to assemble the grant application to Access for All. Completion of a questionnaire in Microsoft Excel format was accompanied by the compilation of a 74 page long supporting Appendix. This Appendix not only expanded on the answers submitted in the questionnaire but also contained over 20 letters, and 75 individual responses of letters of support from local councils, the local MP, local residents, and organisations such as the Seashell Trust and the Disability Information Bureau. The completed application was submitted in November 2018, a matter of hours before the deadline.