Monday, 15 February 2016

Step free access at Mill Hill Broadway - with an election looming, can we expect an announcement

For many years, the locals of Mill Hill have been seeking step free access at Mill Hill Broadway British rail station. The Barnet Eye has been highly supportive of this campaign. Shortly after he was first elected MP in 2010, local Hendon MP held a public meeting to discuss local issues. He'd been briefed by the then local operators, First Capital Connect. I asked a question on the subject. Mr Offord insisted such a thing was not practical, given the station layout. I pointed out that such access could be installed easily and cheaply via the Bunns Lane Car park entrance. Offord admitted he'd not considered this. In 2012, when Andrew Dismore becae GLA member for Barnet and Camden, this campaign moved up a gear. Dismore was well briefed on the subject and recognised the importance of good transport links to the local constituency. He realised that this was a good opportunity for a quick win. A local campaign gathered motion and soon Mr Dismore and Mr Offord were working together on the same side

Well the good news is that the Barnet Eye has heard that it looks this is moving a step closer. As ever, when there is an election, politicians minds get focussed. In May, we have the Mayoral and GLA Elections. Both the Tories and Labour are desperate to hoover up as many votes as they can. In actual fact the leading light behind this campaign has been neither Dismore or Offord, but a local resident Mr George Jones.  Jones has been instrumental in bring all parties together. George is old school Mill Hill.

Anyway, another dynamic has entered the equation. Following much lobbying by TFL over many years, it appears that TFL are poised to take over the Thameslink franchise. This is another intitiative Dismore has been fighting for  for many years. Boris has now backed the scheme, but it appears that Matthew Offord is not keen. He is a supporter of the the current franchising arrangements. Word reaches the Barnet Eye that Offord sees the step free access as a good way to make the case for the existing franchising arrangements. The hard earned consenus that George Jones has worked so hard to put together has now evaporated, with both Offord and Dismore promoting their own agendas.

So anyway, we are soon going to have an announcement, where presumably both sides will claim the credit for the what is being proposed. Wouldn't it be nice if just once, with an election around the corner, our political representatives demonstrated that they were interested in getting the best for the voters. I suspect the one person who won't get a mention is George Jones. But then George was never really in it for the kudos anyway and I suspect he'll just be glad that the problem has been sorted.

That's democracy for you in Barnet.

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