Newbury Park station new lifts set to open next month
PUBLISHED: 13:00 29 October 2018 | UPDATED: 16:07 29 October 2018
Residents gathered at the weekend to celebrate the imminent opening of the new lifts at Newbury Park Station – after nine years of campaigning.
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan initially announced that lifts would be installed by the end of 2017, nine years after work first began.
And finally now the lifts are expected to be fully functioning for the public’s use in early November 2018, possibly before if final safety tests go to plan.
The original lift installation project started in 2007 when lift shafts were dug out, but was abandoned in 2009 due to the contractor at the time, Birse Metro, falling into administration and TfL money for the project not being ring fenced.
Seven Kings and Newbury Park Residents Association (SKNPRA) organised and led a campaign in 2013 for the lift works to be restarted.
that was supported by Aldborough Hatch Defence Association (AHDA) .
The community groups sent letters, emails and made speeches at London Borough of Redbridge full council meetings and the Mayor of London Question time meetings to persuade firstly Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and then his successor Sadiq Khan to restart the lift project at Newbury Park Station.
The groups also organised a petition campaign, which gained support with over 7,600 signatures and this was presented to then GLA Deputy Mayor for Transport, Valarie Shawcross CBE in March 2017.
During the campaign, there was political support from Redbridge Councillors from Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties and MPs Mike Gapes of Ilford South and Wes Streeting of Ilford North to lobby Boris and then Sadiq for the lifts works to restart.
The residents’ groups’ campaign work paid off with the lift programme restarting in August 2017 after Sadiq Khan gave the go ahead with monies found for the lift installation works for both the eastbound and westbound platforms, and provision of a disabled toilet next to the lift serving the west bound platform.
David Stephens, Chairman of SKNPRA, said: “There has been a long campaign by local residents to get lifts installed and this sees all that hard work rewarded by the opening of the new lifts to both platforms for early November. This will make travelling so much easier for so many people, particularly those with disabilities, parents/carers with babies and the elderly. People working together can achieve great things.”
Mark Kennedy, membership secretary and press and publicity officer of SKNPRA, said: “People at the time said that we had no chance of persuading the Mayor of London and TfL to complete the works at Newbury Park station.
“Our hard work in the community, supported by members and residents, working together with AHDA proves that great things can happen if you believe in what you are doing to benefit everyone in the community and visitors to the station. ”
Jenny Chalmers, chair of the Aldborough Hatch Defence Association, said: “Residents fought for over nine years to convince Transport for London that lifts were vital at Newbury Park Station.
“The fact that the lifts are opening is vindication of residents’ concerns for the elderly, the disabled and young families.”
Ron Jeffries, of the Aldborough Hatch Defence Association, said: “In 2009 TfL spent £4.5m installing lifts at Newbury Park, then claimed that they had run out of money, so they spent £1.5m filling in the work already started!
“What a waste of public funds! At long last lifts will be open - largely thanks to the lobbying by SKNPRA and AHDA members and residents.
“It is a good day for the power of protests by residents.”