Plans to add step-free access to Stanmore tube station on the Jubilee line have been pushed back after the housing development that would enable them was withdrawn.

At the moment, the platforms and ticket machines are several flights of stairs down from the main road above. There is a long winding outdoor ramp down to the platforms, but it’s narrow, and not really ideal for access – especially if going up. There have long been calls for something to be done to improve the station, not just for local people, but also because the station is close to the nearby Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital and has a lot of patients using it.

Stairs from entrance down to platforms

Transport for London (TfL) had come up with a scheme that would have added step-free access via a new lift that would be included in a housing development that was to be built on the car park that sits next to the station.

However, the plans for the flats provoked a lot of local opposition, mainly to the loss of car parking spaces. The height of one of the tower blocks was also a problem with concerns that it didn’t fit in with the area, although there’s a large block of 7-storey flats being built on the other side of the station.

Although the plans were amended to preserve 300 of the 446 car park spaces in a basement, this was not enough to win over Harrow Council, and the planning application was formally rejected last July.

Since then, the developers, Catalyst in partnership with TfL, have been looking at alternatives or an appeal to the council’s decision. However, Catalyst has now formally withdrawn the planning application.

Apart from not building 277 affordable flats for rental, that also means that the plans to add step-free access for the station have also been set back.

Step-free access plans – from the planning application

A TfL spokesperson said: “We can confirm that Catalyst, the Registered Provider we had selected in 2019 to deliver new homes and improvements to the area in Stanmore, no longer intends to pursue this opportunity and is therefore withdrawing its planning application.”

“Alongside new homes, the application included plans to improve step-free access at Stanmore station. These plans were refused by Harrow Council in 2021 and Catalyst has since decided to withdraw the application.”

“We are now considering our next steps for this site, assessing how best to move forward with plans at this location given the urgent need to tackle the capital’s housing crisis and improve accessibility on the transport network. We will continue to engage with Harrow Council and the local community as we do so.”

Adding a lift shaft for the station is still technically possible, but in the current funding climate, paying for it without the housing development will prove a challenge.

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17 comments
  1. M Freedman says:

    Our MP, Bob Blackman campaigned for stair free access, long before the proposed development was mooted. TfL have a responsibility to the users of Stanmore Station to install either a lift or escalators or some other means so that disabled people can travel from street level down to the train platforms.

    To try to link easier access, to the proposed housing development is disingenuous to say the least. One should not be reliant on the other, especially as the latter has been so roundly rejected by Stanmore residents and the local authority.

    • ianVisits says:

      The housing development was essential as that’s where the lift was to be physically located — and it helps to pay for the lift as well. But remove the block of flats and there’s no building to house the lift.

      TfL would like nothing more than to make everything accessible, but if local people keep objecting to fairly modest blocks of flats, next to another block of flats that’s just been built, then people can’t complain when a cash-strapped organisation has to delay plans to spend money on accessibility.

  2. Ben says:

    So many projects for step free access on hold due to limited TfL funding. Burnt Oak, Northolt, Hanger lane, Boston Manor, North Ealing, Park Royal, Rickmansworth, Ruislip and Snaresbrook were all delayed in 2020 and as far as I know still are.

  3. Jon Cohen says:

    Obviously the writer does not live in Stanmore. Stanmore is already over developed with blocks of flats springing up on any spare piece of land. The recent result of this excessive development has turned a once beautiful suburb into a gridlock mess between 08.00 and 6.00 pm every week-day traffic is simply chaos. No new roads to accommodate the traffic, no road widening to accommodate the traffic, no more doctors for the people, no new schools for the children, just gridlock. Fortunately the Labour council have just been voted out, but it will take the newly elected Conservative leaders to deal with the chaos caused by years of over development with Labour councillors on the take and the make. Thank goodness the ridiculously grandiose TfL scheme has been overwhelmingly rejected.

    • ianVisits says:

      The writer spent 5-years working in Stanmore and only stopped a couple of years ago, and the idea that Stanmore, which is mainly homes with few flats and is surrounded by two massive country parks is overdeveloped is a laugh. Considering that the few housing developments that have gone up recently are all within walking distance (or a short bus ride if necessary) there’s no reason for road congestion to have increased, and as I walked between the tube station and town centre most days for 5-years, while I accept it’s a busy road, the idea that a block of flats next to a tube station will see more people driving to the tube station is a bit far fetched.

    • Jay says:

      Totally agree, 1000%. I have lived in Stanmore for over 19 years and hate it now. Its overcrowded, dirty and no extra capacity has been added to cope with the influx of the 1000’s of extra people from all the high-rise developments that have sprung up in the area over the last 15 years.
      I am disabled so the lift not being introduced is not the best news, but the alternative is far worse. I would rather continue as I am than live in an even more overcrowded town.

  4. Chris Rogers says:

    Fair enough Ian but saying “if local people keep objecting to fairly modest blocks of flats, next to another block of flats that’s just been built, then people can’t complain” etc is a little unnecessary. Planning allows those those local people to object and councils take note. It’s not either party’s fault that Tfl are short of cash.

    • Roy says:

      “Won’t someone think of the children”
      “Fix Traffic First”
      “Fix Hospitals/Schools/Crime/Transit First”
      “Surface parking lots are a ‘beautiful suburb’ ”
      “Overdevelopment”

      Oh well. Extremely high and climbing housing prices will continue to rob the UK economy of productivity, preventing people from taking risks like starting a business because they can barely stay above water even on a high salary. The neighborhoods will look the same, but become stagnant, populated mostly by the elderly or rich.

  5. Maureen Sach says:

    If there was a lift I’m sure many more people would use the station. People going to the hospital , elderly, disabled, people with walking difficulties etc. Just the sheer height puts me off I always feel I’m going to fall, how difficult must it be with suitcases etc. Surely if more people used the station TFL will earn more money this station has been there years its due surely to have some money for improvements.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Forgive my ignorance but I thought Stanmore already is step free?

    • ianVisits says:

      It’s not for the reasons explained in the second paragraph in the article.

    • Geoff says:

      considering how much walking is needed on Elizabeth Line step free stations the step free at Stanmore is not too bad but still awkward for a disabled person

  7. Clem says:

    It is a very long walk to the hospital if you have orthopaedic problems and the bus doesn’t go near it so taxi or cars are needed. Stanmore has enlarged over the past 50 years so it doesn’t need more flats. Who wants to live overlooking a station anyway – if they have a choice?

    • ianVisits says:

      Tell people struggling to afford to live in London that we don’t need more flats – especially flats that were to be built for rental at affordable rates.

  8. Jay says:

    @ianVisits Your comment “the idea that a block of flats next to a tube station will see more people driving to the tube station is a bit far fetched”, is uneducated and you obviously do not live in Stanmore or you would know that is exactly what has happened because when there is football at Wembley, everyone descends on Stanmore because of its proximity to the M1 and A41.

    Stanmore is NOT mainly homes with few flats, you must live under a rock! I have lived in Stanmore for 19+ years and things are getting worse, GPs cannot see patients for weeks and traffic has more than doubled, thefts and crime has increased in the area. The first chance I get I’m OUT!!!

    • ianVisits says:

      I lived and worked in Stanmore for several years.

    • Sykobee says:

      What do people driving in to use the rail to get to the football have to do with building some new flats by the station?

      All the issues are due to 12 years of Tory government mismanagement and cutting funds to councils – especially Labour councils. Thefts and crime increase when people get desperate.

      Watch you don’t get OUT!!! to another London borough – they’re all busy, they’re all overdeveloped, and they’re all struggling.

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