Lift plans get �1million boost

A hard-fought campaign for an elevator in Hampstead Heath station finally has lift-off after winning �1million in funding.

Campaigners said the lift will be a lifeline for the disabled and elderly who need to use the Overground station to travel to the Royal Free Hospital. Transport for London (TFL) has secured funds to install two lifts from the platform to the ticket hall and footbridge in a raft of funding from the Department for Transport announced yesterday (Wednesday).

Chairman of Uplift for ALL Jonathan Bergman, who has been campaigning on the issue for years, said: “The demand was so overwhelming that this is what happened and we have got �1million to put the lift in which is just amazing, amazing, amazing. There are going to be so many happy people in this area and people who can now use the hospital and go to the Olympics.

“Pregnant women, the elderly, people with walking sticks and people in wheelchairs who can’t physically get up those 31 steps will soon be able to use the station like everyone else.

“It’s going to transform people’s lives here.”

Casimir Knight and his family live opposite Hampstead Heath station, but his 13-year-old wheelchair-bound son Ben cannot reach the platform.

Mr Knight, who works as managing director of digital media at Chelsea Football Club, said: “It’s fantastic news and will give Ben the ability to travel to Richmond or Westfield or the Olympics. It’s really very, very good news for people like Ben. It will just give him access to places he never had before.”

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Chairman of the Heath and Hampstead’s town planning sub committee Frank Harding said: “I’m delighted. It will make life so much easier for those people who need to use the hospital in particular, but also old people. Those steps are pretty steep which doesn’t make it easy for the elderly to come into Hampstead.”

Dominic Dodd, chairman of the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust, said: “This will be of major benefit to our patients, especially wheelchair users, older people and people with pushchairs.”

TFL could not confirm when work would begin on the station as the Ham&High went to press.

West Hampstead Overground has also received �1million for lifts to be fitted to two platforms.