Now, just 4 years on, the roof as many of you will have noticed, is falling in requiring repairs costing at least half-a-million pounds. Further evidence, according to critics such as our MP Andy Slaughter, that the real reason for the closure four years ago was simply Westfield’s demand that the station be ready for the opening of their shopping centre and nothing to do with engineering imperatives.
An FOI request by Mr Slaughter found this week that “a commercial settlement with Westfield” means that the works will be done at “no cost to London Underground”. But the nature of the commercial settlement is not revealed.
Andy Slaughter said:
“Thousands of my constituents suffered nearly a year of delays and disruption because London Underground danced to Westfield’s tune four years ago. They were outraged then to be given four week’s notice of an eight month closure, and they will be outraged now that the job they suffered so much for was incompetently done and needs repairing so soon. This makes it clearer than ever that nothing mattered four years ago except getting the job done in time to coincide with the opening of Westfield.
“We said at the time that a properly planned solution should include lifts, and TfL’s own engineers said that the job could have been done without closing the station. While I have no objection in principle to Westfield contributing to the transport system that brings them much of their trade, a commercial arrangement such as this needs to be open and above board – a public transport system should not be run at the beck and call of a private firm. London Underground have many more questions to answer about this; and I shall be asking them.”
I have one thing to add to this which I remember from my days working for the disability sector - in 2025 the Disability Discrimination Act will apply to transport. Which means they will damn well have to install a lift by that time anyway. Which will incur even more cost. So why not just get on with it?