Islington Labour councillors for Tollington ward are campaigning for an accessible Crouch Hill station in response to concerns from local residents.
Crouch Hill currently has no step free access to the platform, making it inaccessible to people with a disability or mobility issues, and anyone travelling with heavy luggage or young children.
Tollington ward councillors Anjna Khurana, Flora Williamson and Richard Watts have written a letter to Transport for London (TfL), co-signed by Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn, asking for TfL to nominate Crouch Hill station for funding to improve access. There has previously been funding available for accessibility works through the Access for All programme, which is allocated by the Department for Transport and delivered by Network Rail. It is understood that this programme will reopen for bids next year.
In 2015/16, more than 800,000 journeys were made to and from Crouch Hill station. Despite the massive disruption caused due to the important electrification works on the Gospel Oak to Barking line, in 2016/17 more than 280,000 journeys were made to and from Crouch Hill station. With the electrification works aiming to increase the capacity of the line in the longer term, campaigners argue that all residents should benefit from that work and be able to access Crouch Hill station.
A 2016 study by the Equality and Human Rights Commission identified several key barriers faced by disabled people in the UK, including access to public transport. The report highlighted that being unable to access public transport also affects the ability of disabled people to access education or work. Accessible transport is not just about travelling from A to B, but has a very real impact on the opportunities available for people with disabilities or reduced mobility.
Tollington’s community champions Anjna Khurana, Flora Williamson and Richard Watts met last week with local resident Debra Thompson, who had contacted them about the issue of accessibility at Crouch Hill, and heard more about the impact that lack of step free access has on local residents.
Tollington ward councillor Anjna Khurana said:
“It is clear from our conversations with residents that the lack of step free access makes Crouch Hill station a no go zone for disabled people, those with limited mobility and anyone travelling with young children or luggage. It’s not acceptable for some of our residents to be unable to access public transport.
“As a local councillor and a Tollington ward resident with limited mobility, I know how important accessibility at Crouch Hill station is. I welcome the investment TfL has been making in accessibility at both Overground and Underground stations in London, and will continue to campaign for Crouch Hill to be next on the list.
“I’m proud to be an Islington Labour councillor, and to be working to make Islington a fairer place for everyone. Accessible transport is a key component of this, and I am committed to ensuring that all of our residents are able to access the opportunities Islington has to offer.”
Tollington ward resident Debra Thompson said:
“As a local resident, I feel strongly that a much needed ramp should be installed at Crouch Hill, just as they have been at other stations along the line. With the electrification work on going, there will be more passengers travelling through the station, which makes accessibility works even more urgent.“There is strong feeling locally that something must be done to make Crouch Hill accessible for the whole community, and I hope that with the support of our local MP and councillors we can secure the step free access people need.”
Update: In response to the launch of the step free access campaign by Tollington ward councillors, TfL's general manager for London Overground Rory O'Neill has confirmed they will be considering the case for accessibility works at Crouch Hill when nominations open again for the Access for All funding programme. Tollington’s community champions Anjna Khurana, Flora Williamson and Richard Watts are continuing their campaign with local residents to make the case for Crouch Hill station to be made accessible to all.