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London borough launches legal action over eight-month tube station closure

Islington Council is to bring a judicial review challenge over Transport for London’s (TfL) decision to close a tube station in the borough for eight months.

TfL announced last month that it would close Caledonian Road station between March and October this year, in order to refurbish its two lifts simultaneously.

Islington has called for the lifts to be repaired sequentially, one after the other, which would mean the station could remain open while the upgrade is carried out.

The council said Caledonian Road provided important step-free access for mobility impaired people, something that only 25% of tube stations offer.

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The borough’s grounds of challenge include that TfL did not have due regard to its public sector equality duty when deciding to close the station rather than repair one lift after the other, and that the closure of the station discriminated against physically disabled and older persons.

Cllr Claudia Webbe, Islington’s executive member for environment and transport, said: “Closing Caledonian Road station for eight months will have a huge impact on the local community, especially disabled and older people.

“We have asked TfL to look at repairing one lift at a time and keeping the station open, which would be a big help to disabled and older people, but they haven’t done this.

“We have been left with little choice but to take action on behalf of local residents. We urge TfL to reconsider, to repair one lift at a time and keep this vital step-free station open.”

TfL said repairing one lift at a time would put more pressure on the working lift, which would lead to more frequent failures. It added that a sequential approach would take more time and cost more.

Gareth Powell, Director of Strategy for London Underground, said: “We're sorry for the disruption that the work we are planning will cause customers, however we believe it would not be safe to have the station open while the essential upgrade is carried out.

“Customer safety is our number one priority, which is why we intend to close the station to replace the lifts in the safest way. We have not taken the decision lightly and will complete the work as quickly as possible so that customers can benefit from a much improved, quicker and more reliable service.” 

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