Last week (4th April) Islington Council received a response from the Department for Transport on a funding bid to make three Islington stations accessible to all. Disappointingly, Islington stations Crouch Hill, Drayton Park and Essex Road stations have all been overlooked for the Access for All funding pot.
Tollington ward councillors Anjna Khurana, Flora Williamson and Richard Watts have been long campaigning for step free access at Crouch Hill station, and collected over 150 signatures after representations from frustrated local people who were unable to access the station.
Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn was an early supporter of step free access at Crouch Hill station, and wrote a supporting letter for the application to the Department for Transport expressing the importance of accessible transport to the local community. Islington South and Finsbury MP Emily Thornberry also supported the submission.
Cllr Claudia Webbe, Executive Member for Environment and Transport, said:
“I am disappointed to learn that Islington Council’s funding bid for step free access at three of our stations hasn’t been successful.
“Local residents need and deserve a transport system that is accessible to all. Shockingly, of 16 stations in Islington, only five have step free facilities, and only one station is fully accessible (Caledonian Road). This is unacceptable for local people in Islington, and I am very concerned that anyone would be unable to access education and work, attend medical appointments or visit loved ones because of a lack of accessible stations.
“In our bold 2018 manifesto, Islington Labour committed to make Islington a fairer place for all. This included a specific commitment to call for plans to be developed for all tube and rail stations in the borough to be made fully accessible through step free access. I am determined to keep up the pressure on the government to improve accessibility in Islington, and to make clear how important this issue to local people.”
Cllr Anjna Khurana, Tollington ward councillor and campaigner for step free access at Crouch Hill, said:
“I am very disappointed that Crouch Hill station will not be made step free in this latest round of Access for All funding. It is clear from our conversations with local people 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 local people to be unable to access public transport.
“As a local councillor and Tollington ward resident with limited mobility, I know how important accessibility at Crouch Hill station is. I will continue to campaign with the local community for step free access and put pressure on the government to fully fund vital accessibility works at Islington stations.”