Inaccessible W7 Bus Stop set to finally move after long-running Liberal Democrat Campaign

Lynne Featherstone MP, Cllrs Martin Newton and Gail Engert, and local resident Henry Denby-Wood, all excited about the future move to outside Boots on the BroadwayThe W7 bus stop on the steep Muswell Hill looks set to soon be moved to outside Boots on Muswell Hill Broadway, after a three year campaign by local Liberal Democrats.

The encouraging news was sent to Lynne Featherstone MP earlier this week following enquiries to the Council and TfL.

Following a campaign of letter writing, numerous site visits and petitioning led by Cllr Martin Newton and the Hornsey and Wood Green MP, TfL and the Council have now agreed to move the bus stop to outside Boots on Muswell Hill Broadway. The move will rely on a successful safety audit and will be on a trial basis.

Lynne Featherstone MP comments:

“I’m really thrilled! Thanks to the support of hundreds of local residents, and years of campaigning, the Council and TfL have finally agreed to work together to make the bus stop accessible.

“This is great step forward for elderly and less mobile residents in the Muswell Hill area, who will hopefully soon be able to get safely on the W7 bus to Hornsey Central.”

Cllr Martin Newton adds:

“A bus stop down a steep hill, for the only bus to Hornsey Central, was always a poor solution. But due to strong backing by local residents, and a relentless Lib Dem campaign, we are now really close to getting the move local people need.

“It feels like common sense has finally prevailed. Fingers crossed for a quick move up to the Broadway. But rest assured, until that bus stop is permanently accessible for local people, we will not stop fighting!”

Local Liberal Democrats ask residents for help to win battle for accessible bus stop

Lynne Featherstone and Cllr Martin Newton campaigning for accessible bus stopIn the latest stage in the long-running battle to get an inaccessible Muswell Hill bus stop on the only bus route to Hornsey Central Health Centre moved from a steep hill, Liberal Democrats have today written to local residents, urging them to respond to a consultation.

This most recent bid to get the W7 bus stop, located on the steep Muswell Hill, moved to Muswell Hill roundabout is the latest stage in a long-running campaign by Lynne Featherstone MP and local Liberal Democrats. Despite numerous site visits, and agreement from both Transport for London and Haringey Council that something should be done about the bus stop, neither authority has agreed to move it.

With the Council consulting on transport priorities for the next few years, the Liberal Democrat MP and Fortis Green Councillor Martin Newton are taking the battle to the people, by asking them to help push for the bus stop to finally be moved.

Residents who want to respond to the consultation into Haringey’s Transport Strategy 2011-14 and in particular improving public transport and bus stop accessibility should email frontline.consultation@haringey.gov.uk by 8th November. Please put LIP in the subject line of your email message.

Lynne Featherstone MP comments:

“The bus stop with the only route to Hornsey Central from Muswell Hill is inaccessible, and residents keep writing to me about the need for the bus stop to be moved.

“Despite site visits, and agreement from TfL that moving the bus stop to the roundabout would be a good solution, the authorities keep passing the buck ­ and that’s got to stop.”

Martin Newton, Liberal Democrat Fortis Green Councillor adds:

“With the Council setting their transport priorities for the next three years, and specifically looking at accessible bus stops, this is a rare opportunity to really press for the bus stop to be moved.

“But to make this happen, local residents need to help us make the case. So please write in to Haringey with your response to the consultation.  Together we can finally make this happen.”

Cock-up, conspiracy or incompetence?

Lynne Featherstone, Cllr Martin Newton and London Assembly Member, Caroline PidgeonHere’s my latest column for the Muswell Hill Flyer and Highgate Handbook:

Finally I managed to get Transport for London (TfL), Haringey Primary Care Trust (part of the NHS) and me together in the same place to bang heads together about the need for better bus links to the new Community Health Centre on the old Hornsey Central Hospital site.

We have this wonderful new facility but, despite the transport issues being raised as a key issue at every public and private meeting (literally for years) by many people, nothing has been properly planned, delivered – or even promised for the future.

And of course now the new Health Centre is here – and operational – but not a new bus in sight. Loads of people joined in my campaign for a new bus to enable them to access the new centre when referred there from wherever they live in Highgate, Crouch End, Muswell Hill, Fortis Green or Alexandra wards by their own GP.

Imagine my shock when TfL said they had no idea that there were services were already being provided (with lots more to come) which would bring people from all over the west of Hornsey & Wood Green to the new facility. TfL seemed to be under the illusion that the only thing happening was that two GP practices had moved in and only they would need transport.

To be honest – I couldn’t believe it!

Given the promises on transport, the supposed discussions on transport – to be sitting there listening to the two key agencies basically saying that there was such a gap in communication that TfL didn’t know that there was an ongoing and expanding need for access to the site from provision of new services on the site was truly shocking.

From this ‘discovery’ TfL have now agreed to take away the issue and look at it properly. At least they now both seem to understand there is a problem with providing a major new health facility with no extra transport provision.

I have been contacted by many local people on the back of our campaign giving examples of problems they have encountered. One example is a team who have already moved into the new facility and whose clients will commonly have reduced mobility – albeit still very capable of getting on a bus if it can deliver them near to the health centre – are concerned about how their patients will get to them.

Another example is that of one local health worker who has contact with people with very differing needs in the borough who wrote to me to say that a number of people she is in contact with through her work have mentioned their concerns about the lack of usable transport links to the new site.

I don’t know what on earth has been going on – but you can bet my language to both the Chair of Haringey PCT and Peter Hendy (Commissioner of Transport in London) will be pretty strong as I bring this smartly to their attention.

Clearly this is a mess – and I just hope that both Haringey PCT and TfL sort it out now they have acknowledged that they haven’t even been looking at the right problem.

Local MP demands action on bus to Hornsey Central following disappointing meeting

Following a meeting with Transport for London (TfL) and the local health service to discuss better transport to the new Hornsey health centre, Lynne Featherstone MP has written to all involved parties, demanding they stop passing the buck and look seriously at how to improve transport to the Park Road site.

The intervention came following a recent meeting, where issues of poor communication and lack of responsibility from both TfL and the health service became evident. Despite a Liberal Democrat petition, a health service transport survey and the issue being raised in both public and private meetings, TfL appeared unaware of the new health centre’s planned range of services and wide catchments area.

The Hornsey and Wood Green MP has now written to TfL and the local health service, demanding they all take responsibility and ensure better communication so that the issue of improved transport to the site can finally be discussed in earnest.

Lynne Featherstone MP comments:

“I am astonished and frankly very angry that despite raising the issue of poor transport to the health centre on many occasions, the health trust hasn’t even bothered to make sure that TfL has all the facts and understands just how many people will be using this centre. That, if anything, is essential information when assessing the need for more buses!

“It’s so frustrating that no-one wants to accept responsibility- but the buck stops here. I’ve written to all responsible parties, and will be chasing them to make sure we get some real movement- because sadly for now the Hornsey hospital bus doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.”

TfL, Haringey PCT and me

Lynne Featherstone, Cllr Martin Newton and London Assembly Member, Caroline PidgeonFinally I managed to get Transport for London (TfL), Haringey PCT and me together in the same place to discuss the need for local people to be able to access services at the new Community Health Centre at Hornsey Hospital.

We have this wonderful new facility – which we all hope is going to be filled with services that local people will access – making life much easier for all. Fly in the ointment is that despite this being raised as a key issue at every public meeting (and all the private ones I have had with TfL or the PCT) nothing has been planned or delivered – or even promised for the future.

And of course – now the new Health Centre is here – and operational. But not a new bus in sight. Loads of people joined in my campaign for a new bus – or more accurately bus links that would enable them to access the new centre – when referred there from wherever they live in Highgate, Crouch End, Muswell Hill, Fortis Green and Alexandra.

When the original hospital closed – they took away the W2 – but as it stood as of Friday – there were no plans for any new services at all. For the years of planning and campaigning that everyone has been involved in – it was always going to be needed – so imagine my shock – when at this meeting, which I had convened, TfL said they had no idea that there were services being (and much more to be) provided that would bring people from all over the West of Hornsey & Wood Green to the new Centre when they were referred on by their GP etc. TfL seemed to have thought that all that was happening was that the two GP practises had moved in and only they would need transport.

To be honest – I couldn’t believe it!

Given the promises on transport, the supposed discussions on transport – to be sitting there listening to the two key agencies basically saying that there was such a gap in communication that TfL didn’t know that there was an ongoing and expanding need for access to the site from provision of new services on the site was truly shocking?

I don’t know what the hell has been going on – but I will be writing to the Chair of Haringey PCT, Haringey Council and Peter Hendy (Commissioner of Transport in London) to bring this smartly to their attention.

Coming out of this ‘discovery’ the agreement was that TfL would now, in its new informed position, take away the issue and look at it. Haringey PCT would provide them with the report from the early transport study they commissioned (unbelievable that they hadn’t provided it already), their green travel plan (can’t imagine what that is if it doesn’t beg the question of public transport access). The PCT would provide some mapping – showing where GP surgeries are and where patients live – and therefore the gaps in public transport access to link into a route that serves the site.

At least they now both seem to understand there is a problem with providing a major new health facility with no transport provision. TfL kept saying it was well served by buses already – but then given they seem to have only been looking at the W7 trundling regularly in both directions between Crouch End, Park Road (where the health centre is) and Muswell Hill – they clearly haven’t even thought about other links at all.

I had been contacted by many local people on the back of our campaign to improve bus links to Hornsey. I can give you a couple of the examples from groups who have also backed this campaign which illustrate the point pretty clearly  I think. One local organisation who have moved into the new facility already and whose clients will commonly have reduced mobility – albeit still very capable of getting on a bus if it can deliver them near to the health centre. They are concerned about how their patients will get to them. Also another professional who has contact with people with very differing needs in the borough writes to me that a number of people she is in contact with through her work have mentioned their concerns about the lack of usable transport links to the new site. They were told by the Chair at the Mobility Forum that this wasn’t a pressing problem as there were only two GP practises present on the site.

Clearly – this is a mess – and I just hope that both Haringey PCT and TfL sort it out now they have acknowledged that they haven’t even been looking at the right problem

On a better note – Haringey PCT thought that any transport provision to get to services, for example, that had previously been provided by the Whittington that might in future be provided by the Health Centre, if NHS transport had been used to transport people to their hospital appointment – that same provision should hopefully be switched to the new facility. They will pursue that.

But then, to add insult to injury – and despite the consultation on moving the critical bus stop on Muswell Hill only just having finished – TfL now say that they can’t see where to accommodate the move onto the flat of the Broadway or the roundabout. They say it’s up to Haringey Council to decide if they want to do something up at the roundabout. It’s so easy (and much cheaper) for TfL to say ‘not me gov’ – over to the Council or over to the PCT. And of course – in turn I have no doubt that the PCT and Haringey Council will say that it is TfL. So round and round that goes – with no one taking responsibility for ensuring that people can access the one bus that does go to the hospital direct from Muswell Hill – but which because it is sited on a steep, steep hill – is a hazard for those who are mobility impaired, mothers with buggies, wheelchair users and the older resident. To be continued…….

Local MP demands hazardous bus stop on route to health centre must move

The bus stop on Muswell HillFollowing a successful Liberal Democrat campaign where Transport for London (TfL) agreed to consult on moving a poorly located stop on the only bus route to Hornsey Central, Lynne Featherstone MP has now submitted her and local residents’ responses to the consultation.

Local Liberal Democrats have long been campaigning for the first bus stop on the W7 route in Muswell Hill, the only direct bus to the Park Road Health Centre, to be moved up to Muswell Hill Broadway. In the summer, Ms Featherstone and Cllr Martin Newton met with TfL representatives at the bus stop to highlight the hazard of getting down the steep slope for less mobile and elderly residents. As TfL agreed to look into the issue, MP Lynne Featherstone wrote to local residents to get their views on moving the bus stop, and included all responses in her submission to the consultation.

Lynne Featherstone MP comments:

“This bus stop is very poorly located, and it’s great to have been able to make such a strong case for moving it up the Broadway thanks to the many responses from local residents.

“One letter in particular paints a very stark picture. A woman in her seventies, trying to push her husband in a wheelchair down the steep slope, and literally having to bend over backwards not to lose control. The bus stop needs to be moved before anyone gets seriously injured; otherwise I fear it is only a matter of time.”

Councillor Martin Newton, Lib Dem Transport spokesperson adds:

“It’s great to see that so many people have written to us with their stories. TfL is bound to sit up and take notice – and rest assured we’ll keep a close eye on this one.”

You can watch more about this story in this YouTube clip:

The video is also available on the YouTube website.

Lynne Featherstone MP commenting on opening of Hornsey Neighbourhood Health Centre

Commenting on the grand opening of Hornsey Neighbourhood Health Centre, Lynne Featherstone MP said:

“It’s been a long journey and a long campaign together with local people, but today we are finally standing here in this brilliant new facility for the west of the borough.

“This will bring wonderful health services to the community for many years to come, and is what local residents need and deserve. Hats off to all who made this come true- it was worth the wait.”