Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council has raised serious concerns about proposed plans to close ticket offices at railway stations across the borough.

The proposed closures have been announced by the Rail Delivery Group, and would see ticket offices go at stations in Welwyn Garden City, Hatfield, Brookmans Park, Welham Green, Welwyn North, Knebworth and Cuffley.

Under the proposals which require Government sign off, almost all remaining ticket offices across Hertfordshire and England would be closed within three years.

A three-week consultation period had been put place following the July 5 announcement, but this has now been extended to September 1, with Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council among those to respond.

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Councillor Jane Quinton, executive member for planning and regeneration, raised "serious concerns" with the proposal, criticising the Rail Delivery Group for a "lack of clarity".

"I was disappointed to learn of both the proposed closures to the rail ticket offices, and the narrow opportunity for consultation that was originally announced," she said.

"In responding to the consultation, I have raised serious concerns, including the disproportionate impact these proposals would have on the most vulnerable residents, the perception of safety at unstaffed stations, and the lack of clarity on what support and services will remain in place going forward.

"We should be doing everything we can to promote and encourage use of our railways as a mode of sustainable transport, but these proposals appear to have the opposite effect."

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Cllr Quinton also took issue with how the proposal may impact the climate, continuing: "Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and set five ambitious objectives, one of which was to reduce carbon emissions across the borough by promoting a number of measures including sustainable transport.

"Improvements to, and facilitating easy access to, public transport are key elements of this, so it is of concern that measures are being proposed which may discourage or make more difficult the use of rail.

"The council is concerned that the proposed closure of ticket offices will discourage or potentially make more difficult use of the railways at a time when increased use of public transport should be encouraged and made easier in order to help reduce carbon emissions.

"In contrast, these proposals risk making travelling more difficult for some passengers, and may potentially act as a deterrent in some cases and we believe that they should be rethought."