Rail Station Lift hits the buffers
Front page of the Lambeth Post, 10 November 2011, online version unavailable.

Lambeth-full-size

 

RAIL STATION LIFT HITS THE BUFFERS

Funding issues delay £7million revamp 

Disability campaigners’ hopes of finally accessing a railway station have suffered a major blow after transport bosses admitted that plans may have to be shelved.

The £7million project at Crystal Palace station was due to include installing a lift, f inally enabling wheelchair users to get down to platform level.

Work was also due to be carried out to reopen the original Victorian ticket hall and install a new canopy to cover the platforms.

But more than a year since the revamp was approved by Bromley council, work has stalled because of funding issues.

Transport For London (TfL) bosses have admitted that the refurbishment project is at risk, and cannot guarantee the work will go ahead.

Iman Saab, 39, a wheelchair user who lives near the station, said: “It’s very important to have a lift here, not just for the disabled, but for people with pushchairs and other mobility problems.

“If you don’t have access to a station it’s very difficult to get around. Lots of disabled people just don’t go out because they can’t use public transport.”

Iman was part of a Transport for All demonstration which was staged outside the station in July.

Protesters called on London Mayor Boris Johnson to ensure that step-free access is provided at the site in Anerley Hill.

Passengers currently have to negotiate a dizzying 119 steps to reach the platforms.

Transport for All spokeswoman Lianna Etkind said: “TfL have once again cut their targets for step-free access, from 29 per cent of stations to 26 per cent by 2017/18.

“At the moment, just over one in f ive stations are accessible to wheelchair users. It’s pathetic.

“Older and disabled people in Crystal Palace are cut off from the rail network – but we deserve to be able to travel with the same freedom and independence as everyone else.

“In 2011, it’s unacceptable that TfL’s cuts to accessibility are preventing disabled and older people from being able to get out and about and enjoy their city.

“Step-free access to Crystal Palace station is long overdue. We urge TfL to begin work on Crystal Palace station as soon as possible.”

A TfL spokesperson said: “We have already undertaken the detailed design work for Crystal Palace station which will see improved accessibility and the reopening of the Victorian booking hall.

“Works are expected to begin in the new year. However, we are waiting for a funding commitment from the Department for Transport’s Access for All scheme, a decision on which is due shortly.”