Mar 04 2014

MQT: “Labour Says No to Step Free Access” says Boris

Boris-Johnson-150x150A snippet from Mayor’s Question Time recently, when a little bit of jousting kicked off about step-free access at Harrow on the Hill Station.

Timestamps refer to webcast on Assembly website. VB is Victoria Borwick (it was her question). NS is Navin Shah.

Starts 2:51:50, Ends 2:59:43

Boris: “This is really a chance for us all to pay tribute to the work of Cllr Susan Hall of Harrow who has done a blinding job in getting this project – much delayed – off the ground.£3.1m from the London Borough of Harrow, jointly funded by Harrow, GLA and TfL into solving that problem of step-free access at Harrow on the Hill. It is very difficult. I cannot tell you exactly when the new lifts – or new facilities – will be put in. But three of the most difficult stations on the network where you need step-free access, Harrow on the Hill would certainly be one.

VB: “I visited the area this week and I know this is an area you have also visited on several occasions, because you’re quite rightly saying this is a longstanding issue and you’re quite right that you recognise the work done by Cllr Susan Hall and the rest of the administration there in working closely with your team to make the Harrow and Wealdstone area a new opportunity area to attract new funding in order to include step-free access and I think a redesign [talking about college diving that community]. One of the lessons of the Olympics is that we did show ourselves to be an accessible city, and I continue to urge you to go on seeing what we can do to make London more accessible. Something that’s a real passion of mine from buggies to wheelchairs – let’s continue to make London step-free access, to make it easier for people and to make us a friendlier city Thank you for your support for this scheme, on behalf of the constituents in Harrow who I am sure will benefit.”

Boris: “It has taken time, and the reason for that is that these are expensive schemes – this will be an expensive project, you cannot snap your fingers and put in all these things at once. Some of these lifts, as Members of the Assembly will know, can put about £100m to put in.”

Navin Shah: asks Boris to recognise work that has been going on for years.

Boris (in response to NS): “Should I applaud Navin or should I applaud Susan? Well done on being unsuccessful.”

NS: “A Lot of work has been going on for the last 8 or 9 years”

Boris: “The facts speak for themselves. That is: it is under the leadership of Cllr Hall that Harrow Council has finally put together a package that enables us to get on with the step-free access at Harrow on the Hill.” “It takes one thing to discuss things, another thing to do them and I congratulate Cllr Hall.”

NS: timescales

Boris: “The work currently underway is expected take around 3 months to complete and we will then move ahead as fast as possible.

NS: suggestion it will take until 2017. “Why are people being treated like second class citizens.”

Boris: “A question you may well have asked during the 8 years of the previous administration when nothing was done for harrow on the hill step free access. I wasn’t aware of anybody doing anything, let alone yourself.” “It is the fortunate coincidence, the happy alignment of the stars that brings together a forward looking and dynamic leader in the form of Cllr Susan Hall in Harrow and a proactive Conservative administration here in City Hall that is finally solving a problem that Labour neglected for well over ten years.

NS: accuses Mayor of playing politics.

Boris: “So you don’t want us to do it? Ah! Labour says no to step free access! It’s a stunt says Navin Shah. Labour blocks step-free access – is that what you are saying?” “I think the people of Harrow will recognise that a thoroughly productive programme is now in place that will deliver a full feasibility study into step-free access within the next three months and I hope very much we will then go forward to solving the problem. Harrow on the Hill has particularly vertiginous steps as everybody knows; it’s high time it was fixed and I congratulate Cllr Susan Hall on putting together the requisite funding package.”

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  1. John Clement

    As an arthritis sufferer -these steps are absolute hell. Cut out the political point scoring and get on with it. this sounds lime stalling set up a committee for feasabilty study and on it goes for years. They will a susual have spent £ millions on political hacks before a lift cable is even laid.

  2. Timeforchange

    Well done Boris and well done Susan. Sour grapes Navin? Surely whichever political party has finally got the ball rolling deserves congratulating?

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