Council in talks over match-funding for multi-million pound access upgrade

The Seven Kings and Newbury Park Residents Association are campaigning with local councillors and re

The Seven Kings and Newbury Park Residents Association are campaigning with local councillors and residents to have lifts that were started at Newbury Park station installed for disabled access. - Credit: Archant

A multimillion-pound match-funding scheme to make a Tube station fully accessible after years of campaigning is being “explored” by the council.

Transport for London (TfL) has allocated £75million to making Underground stations step-free, with Newbury Park identified as one of the stations which could be converted.

But the scheme calls for councils and developers to contribute towards the cost, so campaigners remain sceptical.

A Redbridge Council spokesman said the authority was beginning discussions with TfL.

He said: “The council will again reaffirm to TfL our desire for Newbury Park station to be equipped with lifts.

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“In the coming weeks, we will ask for more details about this recent announcement and for updated information about potential installation costs so that this possibility can be further explored.”

In 2009, London Underground began to install lifts at the station, but the £14m project was suspended in the following year due to budget cuts.

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Mark Kennedy, of the Seven Kings and Newbury Park Residents Association, which has campaigned for step-free access along with the Aldborough Hatch Defence Association (AHDA), said members were concerned that money could be taken away from affordable housing and infrastructure projects if the council had to fund the conversion.

He said: “At the end of the day, we are talking about public money, whether it’s coming from TfL, the government or council, so why does not TfL finance the whole cost of a project they started at Newbury Park and abandoned in 2009?”

Nicholas Smith, from AHDA, added: “We have had our hopes and expectations raised and then dashed too many times on this in the past, so we will not begin any celebrations until we know just what these latest plans mean.”

Last week, TfL announced that Seven Kings railway station would also become step-free when Crossrail is completed in 2019.

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