Concerns over delays to accessibility upgrades at Hackney Downs railway station

Concerns over delays to accessibility upgrades at Hackney Downs railway station
Credit London Assembly

Concerns have been raised over delays to a long-awaited set of accessibility upgrades at Hackney Downs railway station.

A package of improvements was promised at the east London station in April 2019, after money was committed for the project by the Government.

At the time, local London Assembly member Jennette Arnold said the “vital funding” will “provide a lifeline for those with disabilities and mobility issues” – but four years on, work has still not started on the project.

Following a request from Ms Arnold’s successor, Sem Moema, an update on the scheme was given at the end of August by mayor Sadiq Khan’s office.

They said: “Transport for London (TfL) is currently in discussions with the Department for Transport (DfT) and Network Rail on the most cost-effective way to deliver the scheme.”

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The mayor’s team suggested that a meeting had been arranged to discuss the matter further.

They added: “The commencement of the scheme has been delayed in part due to land ownership issues. TfL is seeking confirmation from the DfT that the funding for the scheme will remain available after 2024 to safeguard the delivery of the project.”

Ms Moema, a Labour member, said her residents “have been waiting for too long for lift access and other accessibility improvements” at the station.

She added: “Network Rail needs to get a move on and sort out the issues – and Government needs to remove the threat of retracting the funding so the scheme is not lost.”

Currently, only the station’s southbound platform has step-free access, made possible thanks to an interchange and lift link with the nearby Hackney Central station. The station’s northbound platform has no step-free access.

Alex Phillips, TfL’s rail development manager, said in response to Ms Moema: “Accessibility enhancement schemes such as the proposal at Hackney Downs are funded via the DfT’s Access for All fund and managed by Network Rail.

“We are working closely with the DfT and Network Rail to upgrade Hackney Downs to a fully accessible station through three lifts.

“We appreciate how important the addition of lifts at Hackney Downs is for our customers and will help deliver this as soon as possible.”

It is understood that an accessible toilet will also be provided at the station – which currently lacks loos of any kind – but that will be achieved through a separately funded scheme.

The station forms part of the London Overground network, but it is also served by Greater Anglia services.

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