Saturday, July 20, 2013

Stepping Out with @MikeGapes

You will have seen the reports in the local press on the photoshoot organised by the Seven Kings and Newbury Park Residents’ Association calling for step free access at Newbury Park Station. You haven’t? Well then, here they are:

Wanford & Woodstead Graundiad       Ifold Recoder

However, contrary to Mr Hickey’s centrepiece letter in last Thursday’s Recoder there did appear to be somebody present who bore a remarkable likeness to the Redbridge Cabinet Member for Environment, Transportation & Crime whom I believe is a Liberal Democrat councillor. Whoever he was, he was there along with two Redbridge MPs and various other councillors, activists and members of B21 and the public.

This is a cross party campaign in which the Redbridge Labour group appear willing to participate and the other part of it is step free access at Seven Kings station. Which leads me to Crossrail and the Transport for All campaign.
Crossrail is a new line, opening fully in 2019, spanning London East to West. It’s costing £14.5bn of public money.
Yet unless current plans are changed, seven stations will not be stepfree, and will be out of bounds to many disabled and older people. Hanwell in Ealing; Manor Park and Maryland in Newham; Seven Kings in Redbridge and Iver, Langley and Taplow to the West of London will not have stepfree access to platforms.
We believe that it is no longer acceptable for disabled and older people to be locked out of their local station. Inaccessible transport is excluding disabled people from participating fully in public life.
Estimates suggest that Crossrail could be fully accessible for as little as 0.2% of the Crossrail budget – a small cost to make this truly public transport.
In 2013, a year after we heard so much about a ‘Paralympic legacy’ there is no excuse for disabled and older people not to be included from the start in new transport infrastructure.
See detail of Torch Relay and Rally here.
The thing is that it is even worse than Transport for All say. To put it in petrol head terms – there is no point in driving somewhere if there is nowhere to park when you get there! Public Transport not only takes people from here to somewhere else, it also brings people from somewhere else to here. Elderly or disabled people might just want to pop along to Seven Kings to visit their relatives or even watch their grand children in a school play. Or maybe they might want to pop down from Barkingside or Ilford to visit PG Creeds? Transport is a two-way issue.

So, who has just been re-elected as Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Crossrail Group? Well, none other than Ilford South’s Mike Gapes MP – a local man with a megaphone. And who has tabled an EDM (Early Day Motion) calling for step free access at Seven Kings? Yes it’s him again.

There’s no point in asking Lee Scott MP to sign this EDM because he made a decision at the start of his second term not to sign any. But I’m sure he would like to hear the views of his constituents on Crossrail and accessibility as, no doubt, it will be used by Ilford North residents and visitors alike.

You can find your MP’s contact details here. Please do lobby them, it’s what they are there for.


  1. I have written again to the Old Ford Decoder dealing with the matter of my error about those assembled at Newbury Park.

    I wonder how much of the work at stations on the Crossrail route will require planning permission and whether the planning authorities concerned can refuse permission if step-free access is not provided.

    On the face of it the planners working on Crossrail appear to be open to prosecution under the Disability Discrimination Act before they have even opened for business!

  2. The campaigners wanted, and received, all-party support for their campaign, and of my own colleagues both Cllr Patel and Cllr Deakins attended and are in the Ilford Recorder's photo. It is disappointing that Mr Hickey feels it is in any way appropriate to try and hijack this positive all-party local residents' campaign for his own cheap point-scoring and without even checking his facts.


    1. Yes, "cheap point scoring" is best left to elected and wannabe politicians, although some ex-politicians may find it difficult to kick the habit ...

    2. When it comes to lessons in hijacking and point-scoring I always bow to the expertise of Liberal Democrats. And for Ian Bond's information I am not a member of any political party, nor have been for about 3 years. A pox on all of them!

  3. I have picked up this morning from TfL's website that London Overground trains will not be stopping this weekend at Hampstead Heath due to lift installation work.

    Does Hampstead Heath have more passengers than Newbury Park, or is it simply that more of them suffer from gout?

  4. Some promising news (well news to me! Apologies if you know about this already). Transport for All recently wrote to TfL’s Peter Hendy regarding Crossrail access. In among the reply, he stated:

    "We have also indicated we will bid for DfT ‘Access for All’ funding for Seven Kings in the 2014 round and are hopeful of success."