A new Ilford station entrance is nearing completion but will not include any public toilets.

Network Rail had hoped to hand over the new Elizabeth Line station by December 2020 but were delayed by a number of “external factors”.

This includes the discovery last August that the concrete bridge beneath the entrance was “very deteriorated”, which necessitated a last-minute £4million repair.

Network Rail now hopes the new entrance can be handed over to operator MTR this month.

Explaining the lack of public toilets to Redbridge Council’s external scrutiny committee earlier last month, Network Rail’s Stephen Deaville said: “It was considered to be more important to increase permeability to increase passengers coming in and out of it and to have an improved gateline to cater for the increased number passengers expected to use the Elizabeth Line.

“From a design perspective, the design of Ilford station has been through the Redbridge planning process and was approved by Redbridge.”

Responding to Councillor Kumud Joshi’s request to “go back and ask” for a toilet to be added, Mr Deaville said the question has already been “well argued”.

He added: “I know that may not be well received and indeed there will be ongoing discussions with the operator… but from our scope and point of view, and the station having been through the planning process, there are no toilets included within the scope that we are delivering.”

A letter from deputy mayor of London for transport Heidi Alexander to council leader Jas Athwal, sent in November 2020, apologised for the effects of the long-running delay to the new entrance, including the pavement outside being blocked, but declined his request for an “ex-gratia payment”.

At the other end of the station, two new entrances have already been opened leading to York Road and Prior Road.

The Prior Road entrance, which leads to a number of recent residential developments, was built using funding from Greater London Authority, Transport for London and Redbridge Council.

Ilford station sits on the Elizabeth Line, which opened in May, on a route between Liverpool Street and Shenfield.

Further phases will link it with other parts of the network, including Reading and Abbey Wood.