Government funding for step-free access has been secured
Lifts are to be installed at Wandsworth Town and Battersea Park rail stations as part of a Government scheme to improve transport access for people with disabilities.
Local councillors report that they have long been arguing that both stations needed to have improved step free access for passengers – especially those with disabilities, but also other for other passengers who struggle to use staircases such as those travelling with young children in buggies, or with heavy luggage or shopping.
The Government has now announced that 73 stations across the country including Wandsworth Town and Battersea Park will benefit from access improvements between now and the end of March 2024. Barnes Station, which is used by passengers in West Putney and Roehampton, is also included in the scheme.
Transport Accessibility Minister, Nusrat Ghani, said, "Transport is vital for connecting people with work, friends and family, but also to enable them to enjoy visiting some of the wonderful cultural, historical and natural sites across Europe."
"Over the next five years these newly accessible stations will open up routes across the country."
Wandsworth Council is also working with Network Rail on a comprehensive package of improvements at Battersea Park Station, to cater for increased passenger numbers as more people move to Nine Elms alongside new businesses.
“The council’s transport spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “This is very welcome news, and something we have been calling on ministers and the rail companies to implement for many years.
“Providing lifts at these two busy stations will be a tremendous boost to travel options for local people with disabilities. It will make travelling on the railways that much easier for many other people too, not just those who have a disability, so we are delighted at today’s announcement and the success of our lobbying.
“We will now be turning our attention to securing similar advances at Wandsworth Common and Queenstown Road stations which are the only two remaining overground stations in the borough which lack sufficient step-free access.”
Lifts are already in place at Clapham Junction, Earlsfield, Putney and Balham stations.
In response to the Government’s ‘Access for All’ funding to deliver step-free access, local London Assembly Member, Leonie Cooper AM, said, "This is great news for our community and will provide a lifeline for those with disabilities, mobility issues, buggies and heavy luggage who struggle to easily access local transport links via many steps.
“This vital funding will go towards supplementing the Mayor of London’s significant investment into increasing step-free access across the tube network.
“It is disappointing to see that the amount of funding allocated by the Government could only cover six London stations receiving grants from the Access for All scheme.
“We have also seen works under previous rounds of the scheme subjected to delays, so I will be monitoring the timely delivery of step-free access at Wandsworth Town.
“There is still much more to be done to ensure that London is open and fully accessible to all”.
Phil Dominey of South Western Railway added, "This investment will build footbridges and lifts at each station and help disabled passengers travel with confidence and connect people with their wor, friends and family."
April 5, 2019