As a life lifelong campaigner on equality issues and disabled people’s rights, I have carried through these priorities into Parliament where I have worked tirelessly since my election in 2017 to ensure that all modes of transport are accessible and inclusive.
It is clear to me that we must seize the opportunity to incorporate an agenda of accessibility and inclusivity as we have done with the Northern Line extension to Battersea Power Station. That is why I want to see the extension of the Northern Line to Clapham Junction.
Enhancing our transport infrastructure can lead to enormous benefits. Large scale improvements such as step-free access at stations or smaller enhancements like tactile paving or handrails open journeys for disabled passengers. However, the benefits extend to everyone. Whether commuting with pushchairs or luggage, as we can all expect to use these facilities at some point in our lives.
But the advantages of accessibility don’t end there. The disabled transport charity Motability calculates that, even conservatively estimated, benefits of around £72.4 billion could be gained each year from closing the accessibility gap.
I have been campaigning for all stations in Battersea to be made accessible and have secured some landmark achievements, with three out of four constituency rail stations now fully or partially accessible. This includes Clapham Junction which, as the busiest interchange stations in Europe, represents an immense achievement for accessibility. Also improved are the Battersea Park & Wandsworth Town stations, currently in the design and implementation stages respectively as a result of Access for All (AfA) funding which I helped to secure.
However, my work won’t be complete until all stations are made accessible – and Queenstown road remains unacceptably challenging for disabled people. Making this station accessible is especially imperative given the ongoing large-scale development in Nine Elms with 20,000 new homes & 25,000 new jobs forecast for the area. To meet this demand, and more crucially, to ensure that this development delivers for all Battersea residents, it is essential that the station gets the necessary investment through AfA funding.
To this end, key community stakeholders, rail industry representatives such as Southwest Railways and myself have been calling for Queenstown to be selected as part of the next round of AfA funding. It is vital that the government selects the station and enables us to build a brighter future for all in Battersea.