THE mayor of Evesham said the Government underestimated the importance of rail ticket offices after plans to close them were scrapped.

Mayor Alan Booth has welcomed the news the ticket office at Evesham Railway Station will remain open after plans were revealed to close them earlier this year.

The 81-year-old said he always used the ticket office  and said it was important to people like him who were disabled and elderly.

"I always use it, especially when travelling in the morning," he said.

"I think it shows that ticket office staff are just as important as the offices, especially from the likes of me who are disabled and use a wheelchair or those getting older, including myself as I'm 81.

Evesham Journal: Mayor Alan Booth.Mayor Alan Booth. (Image: Peter Stewart)

"It is good news that they will not close, and I think they underestimated how much ticket offices meant to the local community."

Hundreds of ticket offices, including Worcester Shrub Hill office, as well as Malvern Link, Great Malvern and Pershore were set to close. 

But on Tuesday (October 31) the government announced the U-turn.

Transport secretary Mark Harper said train operators have been asked to withdraw the proposals as they "do not meet the high thresholds set by ministers".

West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin, whose constituency covers Pershore, has also hailed the news after hundreds of constituents contacted her to share their concerns.

In response, she had spoken to local ticket office staff and sent a dossier to the rail regulator asking it to re-assess the decision taken by West Midland Trains to shut both ticket offices.

"I expressed my clear opposition to this plan because of the effect it may have to deter rail users, particularly the older and vulnerable or disabled customers," she said.

"The speed of response from my constituents and the sheer number of objections suggested that the rail operators had taken the wrong approach, and I urged the regulator to have a close look at the proposals.

"I'm now calling on West Midlands Trains to engage better with their customers, to hear this feedback and realise that support for trains, stations and station staff could not be higher."