THE REDESIGN of Dalston Kingsland has been unveiled. Network Rail wants to replace one of the ugliest, user-unfriendly stations in northeast London with, uhm, well, see for yourself in the admittedly rough photograph of a planning-application drawing, left.
The design of the frontage is in the tradition of Sixties big-window, clear-and-simple architecture and shows some relationship with the overall look of other overground stations, although little with the late-Victorian and Edwardian buildings around it.
The surprising aspect of the application to Hackney council is that no extra provision has been made for disabled people.
The exclusion of a lift means that the station is off limits for wheelchair and other users, unless they can accept the indignity of special arrangements being made, the kind of fuss that none of us ever craves, not to mention the danger of being physically carried down the steps, assuming anyone strong enough is available.
So much for the Access for All station-improvement-scheme announcements and that scheme’s huge funding.
Not that new features have note been included. Something described as a “staff refuge unit” shows on the plans. Commuters well know the apparent love of staff for lockable rooms from which the public can be avoided.
New gates have also been added. One of the complaints about DK has been the difficulty of large numbers of people entering and leaving during peak periods. So the number of gates has been increased from four to eight, in each case one of them being the double-gate for prams-users.
John Thornton, of Hackney campaign group Disability BackUp, told Loving Dalston he was “disappointed but not shocked” to learn that the needs of disabled travellers, and people with suitcases, shopping, bicycles and buggies who needed step-free access, were apparently being overlooked.
In that respect, the station has not changed since it opened in May 1983, as a substitute for the sooned-to-be-closed (in 1986) Dalston Junction station. That was rebuilt and reopened in 2010. Great planning, eh?
David Altheer 180714
* Planning application 2014/2222. To send your views the planners, email email@example.com, and/or your ward councillor(s)
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