A £1MILLION transformation of Dorchester South station has been unveiled - a decade after it was promised.

There have long been calls for improvements at the station, on Copper Street, and a plan to improve the station's facilities has finally been announced.

Network Rail has confirmed that much of the £1m funding will be used to improve accessibility for disabled users, through the installation of more ramps and by lowering ticket windows. The plans also include improvements to the station's toilets and new lighting and wiring, although work is not expected to be completed until 2023.

A total of £750,000 of the funding has come from the government's Access for All programme which was launched in 2006 to address the issues faced by disabled passengers and passengers facing mobility restraints - such as heavy luggage or pushchairs - when using railway stations in Great Britain. The rest of the funding has come from South Western Railway (SWR).

The plans have been welcomed by Dorchester town councillor and former mayor Richard Biggs, who has been keen to see improvements at the station for a decade.

He said: "The improvement plan is something that was promised almost 10 years ago so it is long overdue. To hear that some money has been allocated to the project is great news.

"The station looks very shabby and needs a lot of work done. The entrance is too small and needs a better visual impact as you come in so that it is more suited to a bigger footfall, as it is the main transport hub for the county town.

"It also needs to be more accessible for people with disabilities as there is just one rather shoddy ramp and the moment.

"It's also important that people feel safe in the station so it could do with being better lit."

Mr Biggs added: "I think people will be overjoyed when work begins but there perhaps might be a certain amount of scepticism on whether work will actually go ahead as it has been promised for so long and nothing ever done."

Toby Williams, from SWR, said: "We are developing exciting proposals to improve Dorchester South station, including the toilet and waiting facilities.

"A total of £750,000 of funding from the government's Access for All programme, along with additional SWR investment, will go towards these enhancements.

"We expect these improvements to be completed by 2022/2023 and will be announcing further details in due course."

Network Rail is undertaking the installation of new lighting at the station. Spokesperson Chris Denham said: "We’re working on plans to improve the lighting at Dorchester South station by replacing it and also rewiring the station alongside it. That will give the station a much brighter look and give customers a warmer welcome to the town.

"The work is being planned for the next financial year, 2022/23, and we will be in touch with our neighbours and customers nearer the time when we have a better idea of how and when we will do the job."