UNCORRECTED TRANSCRIPT OF ORAL EVIDENCE To be published as HC 235-xviii
HOUSE OF COMMONS
MINUTES OF EVIDENCE
taken before the
Wednesday 28 March 2007
Mr Alan Meale, in the Chair
Mr Brian Binley
Mr Ian Liddell-Grainger
Mrs Linda Riordan
Ordered: that Counsel and Parties be called in.
21167. CHAIRMAN: Just before I bring you in, Ms Lieven, could I remind people who are here that at 11:30, or thereabouts, I will be suspending the Committee so people might have a drink of coffee or tea along the corridor. Also could I apologise because it seems that our input to the new technology has gone astray today, so we will try and get it back online, if not we will have to operate without it. Could I offer an apology from the Committee to Lucie Stephens because you have been messed around somewhat and this is about the fifth or sixth occasion when it has had to be re‑arranged, so we apologise for that. Before you come in, Ms Lieven?
21168. MS LIEVEN: Yes, sir, could I start by explaining the position of where we are with these Petitioners who are, of course, the Poplar Dock and Blackwall Basin boat owners. I am going to take a little bit of time to explain it because it is not a wholly straightforward history, it would be fair to say, and it is not going to be made any easier with the lack of technology, but I will do my best. As the Committee knows, this Petition concerns the boats which are presently moored in Poplar and Blackwall Basins, approximately 80 boats in Poplar and 20 boats in Blackwall. I am sure Ms Stephens will give you more detail on that and their uses, some are used for residential and some for leisure. I am not sure whether all the members who are here today went on the site visit, so if I will try to briefly explain the factual position. It is not one of the plans that has just been handed to you because it was going to go on the screen and it is very small but I will do my best. Popular and Blackwall have effectively only one access out into the wider waterly world and that is via a short canal ‑ I am not sure if that is the right technical word ‑ into North Dock and then down what is called Bellmouth Passage which takes them out into South Dock, which is the large dock, and then out through a lock into the Thames. The Committee will remember that it is in North Dock we are constructing our station, so there used to be a way out from Blackwall directly to the Thames, but that is now blocked and there is effectively no prospect of re‑opening that way. The consequence of our works for the Poplar and Blackwall residents has been assumed to be, until very recently which I will come to in a moment, to require that a cut‑off will be built in Bellmouth Passage which will prevent them being able to get out of Poplar and Blackwall into the wider world for the duration of our works, which was something between three and a half and five years. That is the situation they found themselves in because of the very extensive works we are doing in North Dock.
21169. Quite understandably, the boat owners were not happy with being stuck for three and a half to five years and we have been working extremely hard, it would be fair to say, to try and find a solution to the problem. What I would like to do is briefly go through the solutions we have considered and where we are with them.
21170. The first possibility, we believe, was for the boats to stay in the existing dock and we are prepared to cover the reasonable costs of them staying because that would be costs such as increased insurance and, potentially, increased maintenance. However, it is quite apparent from their Petition and from long discussions we have had that the boat owners are very unhappy about that proposal, partly because they want to be able to take their boats out ‑ many of them use them for leisure purposes ‑ and partly because of the various practical problems of being stuck within the dock in the boat for three and a half to five years in terms of maintenance and so on. That is the first option we have considered.
21171. The second is to use reasonable endeavours to try to find them another location and preferably, because we understand it is their strong preference, with all of them staying together, or all the ones who want to stay together can stay together. It is not possible at this stage to know exactly how many of them want to stay together because, of course, things may change, but we do understand that the majority want to stay together. We have looked at other locations within what I call ‑ I hope it is the right term ‑ "the West India Dock complex", that is South Dock and then Millwall Inner and Millwall Outer Docks. Millwall Outer is the most southerly dock where the sailing club exists, but it would be fair to say and, as the Committee is well aware, and British Waterways are here today and so can speak for themselves, that trying to find an alternative location within the West India Dock complex has proven to be a very fraught process. British Waterways are here to give evidence to the Committee as to the problems with finding a location. The only two areas which are in any terms big enough are Millwall Inner and Outer Docks. It is fair to say that British Waterways are very strongly opposed to that and have set out in a document we have seen, and they will give evidence on later, a series of reasons why they think that is not a sensible solution.
21172. The other thing that we looked at was whether they could all be relocated to the Royal Docks. The Committee may have a picture of this but it probably does not matter very much, the Royal Docks are a separate set of docks. You might find it, sir, at 003. Sorry, I have almost no idea what you have got and I have got only marginally an idea of what I have got. The Royals are the dock complex further east which some of the Committee may be familiar with because it is where City Airport is and next to the Excel Centre, which the Committee may remember from previous hearings. It is a very large dock complex. We have been in preliminary discussions with the owners. There probably would be space but it would be fair to say that the boat owners are very, very far from enthusiastic about going there for a number of reasons, one of which is that access involves going through the Thames Barrier, it lies to the east of the Thames Barrier, and my understanding is that some of their boats, I do not know what proportion, would not have insurance to go east of the Thames Barrier. I understand there is an issue about training for ‑ I am going to get the term wrong ‑ drivers, or whatever one has for these types of boats, and there is also an issue about seaworthiness once one goes east of the Barrier. That does not appear to be a very attractive option at the present time. Where we have got to is that we have also considered very, very hard the engineering solutions to try to allow them to remain in Poplar and Blackwall Basins. Although, I think it would be fair to say that various ideas have been around for some time, it really has been in the light of the very strong opposition from the boat owners to the Royal Docks and to be being split up and equally strong opposition from British Waterways to using Millwall Dock that we have gone back and looked again very hard at whether we could manage to keep them in the dock and keep waterborne access.
21173. The Committee will be pleased to know that Mr Berryman and his team think that they have come up with a solution, but I should stress it is early days and the solution involves quite significant problems that Mr Berryman can explain to you, but we think we can make it work. I am going to explain very briefly two sub‑options at this stage and then Mr Berryman can deal with it in detail.
21174. The Committee should have two plans which both say "Isle of Dogs Scenario 1", but in the bottom right‑hand corner of the first one I would like you to look at, says "Figure 4 A". They are the ones that were handed in this morning, I think, and they are on an A4 bit of paper. Figure 4 A, what is happening there is that a cofferdam is built across at the eastern point of the station in a location that allows Bellmouth Passage to be kept open. On the plan it looks like an easier solution, but the complexity of it, which Mr Berryman will explain, is, as the Committee will remember, that on the north side of North Dock there is a false quay and immediately on that and to the north is the Billingsgate Market and, therefore, building a cofferdam there is an extremely complex business because one has to get under the false quay. I am not going to stray into the engineering; Mr Berryman believes that it can be done, but there is no getting away from the fact it is complicated. The other issue with both this and the other sub‑option is that it is going back to building a sheet piled cofferdam in North Dock, which the Committee might remember, although you were never told about it in any detail at all, was the original scheme for the entire construction of the station and was bitterly opposed by, in particular, the Canary Wharf Group because of the noise impact of sheet piling in the dock. Although this is much less sheet piling than the original scheme, because it is only one wall as opposed to an entire whole circuit, it will have noise implications and there may be issues, although we have not got to the stage of discussing this with Canary Wharf and the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, which is, of course, the planning authority.
21175. There may be issues about how many hours a day we can do it which has the knock‑on effect that in order to build this proposal there still have to be two cut‑off dams to lower the water in this part of the dock. Under this scenario, there would still have to be a period in which the boats are locked in. Mr Berryman will say that the maximum is eight months, but he hopes very much he could make it a good deal shorter but we do not want to give false hope to the boat owners. That is option one.
21176. Option two is a nuance of that and you should have plan one in the bottom right‑hand corner. Sub‑option two is again to build a cofferdam, but this time it is a dog‑leg and so one does not have to go under the false quay, but the cofferdam is much longer so that has two significant disadvantages. One is there would be a good deal more noise because there is more sheet piling and the other is it is likely to be a good deal more expensive, so those are the two possibilities.
21177. As I say, they are at an early stage but Mr Berryman believes they should be feasible. Sir, if the Committee is minded to think that is a course worth taking, then I need to explain how the powers in the Bill work. These are construction proposals that are assessed in any of the environmental statements we have done so far and because they are likely to have materially different, significant environmental impacts, primarily the noise but also potentially, I am told, the lobster in the Billingsgate Market which apparently are not going to like the vibration very much, all these things will have to be assessed in a further Supplementary Environmental Statement. The work falls within our limits of deviation so we do not need an additional provision for the work, but in accordance with the environmental impact regulations we do need to be environmentally assessed in order to gain the benefit of planning permission under the Bill. The Committee may recall that each time we produce a new Supplementary Environmental Statement there has to be an amendment to Clause 10 of the Bill, so technically there is an additional provision but it is merely to refer to this further Supplementary Environmental Statement, so that is that option, which Mr Berryman will explain he believes has considerable advantages.
21178. I should say, sir, finally, on this issue of the Supplementary ES, the intention is to do that in parallel with the Woolwich additional provision which we are already working on, so the idea is that the two documents could be produced at the same time and any petitioning to the SES, which I can deal with in more detail if the Committee wants me to, would be considered at the same time as the hearings on the Woolwich AP. Therefore, it will have to be done quickly, but Mr Berryman believes that is possible.
21179. There is one final option which I should deal with because it has been mooted and it is important the Committee understands our position, that is the issue of the Wood Wharf canal. Sir, I was going to refer to a plan which I have no idea whether you have, O15, I hope, in the blue file. That is a drawing which says in the bottom right-hand corner: "Proposed New Canal and Basic Alignment Development Phasing". This is quite a complicated topic. The area to the south of Blackwall Basin is an area known as Wood Wharf. There are significant development proposals in that area being brought forward by the Wood Wharf Partnership, which is a partnership of British Waterways Board, Canary Wharf Group and a property developer. They are promoting a major re-development in this area consisting of offices and residential. It is a very large project, as the Committee can see from the area in question, but it has not yet, as I understand it, got to the planning application stage. As part of the overall scheme, the Wood Wharf Partnership intend to fill in Bellmouth Passage and to build a new canal from Blackwall Basin out into South Dock, and I hope the Committee can see that marked on the plan. It is not really a matter for the Committee, but there are very significant financial advantages for the Wood Wharf Partnership which, of course, includes Canary Wharf and British Waterways in doing that work because of the development land that it frees up, but, unsurprisingly, it is an extremely costly project, something in the region of £20 million.
21180. It goes up and down like all these things fairly regularly. It may be that the canal offers a good solution to the Poplar boat residents because it is a direct way out and it is a scheme which has the potential to be going ahead in any event, but that entirely depends on two things. One, whether the timing of the canal can be made to work with the Crossrail project because it has not even got to the planning application stage and we are just not in a position to know whether there are likely to be difficulties with planning permission or not but then it is not even in phase one of the Wood Wharf scheme, as we currently understand it. It may be that the canal gets built, but it gets built far too late to be of any assistance to Poplar dock owners or users or Crossrail. The other one is simply a financial one which is that Crossrail has indicated that we are happy to discuss making a contribution to the canal which is commensurate with the benefit to the Crossrail project, ie roughly commensurate to the costs of relocating the boat owners, but we are firmly opposed to being required to build a canal as part of the project. That would effectively be a massive windfall to the Wood Wharf Partnership and would entail a cost to the public purse that is completely out of proportion to the benefit of the canal to Crossrail. £20 million is an awful lot of money in order to assist something like 100 boat users. Sir, we are very happy to go on discussing the matter with the Wood Wharf Partnership and British Waterways and it may be that is a solution but there are no guarantees of that at this stage.
21181. I should also say, sir, that quite apart from the fact an AP would not be justified by the project, it would also necessarily involve a considerable delay because to bring forward an AP for the canal would be a very major operation. The boat owners have suggested - I will just touch on this because it is in the correspondence - constructing a shorter canal which, if the Committee goes back to O15, would go across on the left-hand side close to the roundabout and go roughly through what is on the plan as Fulton House. There are all sorts of problems with that one, it involves impacts on the Grade I listed Banana Wall and impacts on existing buildings which are in use, some of which are doing rather important functions and it will also make absolutely no sense because it does not fit in with the Wood Wharf development proposals, so the canal would have to be built and filled in again and then another canal built for Wood Wharf so that is not an attractive option.
21182. Where we end up, sir, is that we believe we can achieve waterborne access for the Poplar Dock owners save for a period of between four to eight months when we would have to construct these cut-off, these dams and work would have to be going on in the cofferdam. If the Committee wishes to do so, then we can seek powers to do that through the Bill by producing a Supplementary Environmental Statement. We will also continue to talk to the Wood Wharf Partnership about the canal and how that can be brought forward, so the two are not conflicting, they can go along in parallel. I am sorry for having taken a bit of time, but it is not, as I say, a straightforward story. I do not know if the Committee wants now to hear from British Waterways, the Wood Wharf dock or Ms Stephens. I am really in the Committee's hands.
21183. CHAIRMAN: We will hear from Ms Stephens, she has waited long enough.
The Petition of the Poplar Dock Boat Owners Association
MS LUCIE STEPHENS appeared on behalf of the Petitioners
21184. MS STEPHENS: I have prepared some notes so if you do not mind I will read the notes.
21185. CHAIRMAN: I wonder if at the end you could give the notes to the stenographers, that would be very helpful.
21186. MS STEPHENS: Given the changes we have heard this morning, there might be some edit to what I have originally prepared. My name is Lucie Stephens and I am appearing before the Committee to represent the Poplar Dock Boat Owners Association. We are pleased to be here today but would like to note our surprise and disappointment that, as a well-established and visible dock full of boats, we had no formal communication from Crossrail at all prior to the presentation of our Petition. We hope it was just an unfortunate oversight but we would like to make it clear for the record and in case there is any misunderstanding that while our interest may be aligned to British Waterways, they do not represent the interests of the boating community moored in Poplar and Blackwall Basin.
21187. We are extremely grateful to the Committee for the time they are giving us to hear our evidence today and also for the time they spent with us on their site visit to Poplar Dock a couple of weeks ago.
21188. In my submission today I am going to show how the proposed Crossrail development will impact on our community and, in particular, I hope to explain in detail how Poplar Dock and Blackwall Basins are thriving and diverse communities which bring social and environmental benefits to a local area. Remaining in Poplar Dock and Blackwall Basin is only possible within navigable reach of the River Thames and it is the overwhelming desire of the communities to remain in Poplar Dock and Blackwall Basin during the building of the Crossrail Isle of Dogs station, but the current Crossrail plan will not allow for this. That is subject to the amendments we have heard this morning. As residents, we have submitted a number of possible alternatives that we believe would allow us to keep navigation open for the duration of the project and we are willing to work with Crossrail and others to come up with other acceptable alternatives. However, we believe these need to be properly worked through and Poplar Dock users wish to be fully engaged in that decision-making process.
21189. Firstly, I would like to explain why the residents of Poplar Dock felt the need to petition against the Crossrail Bill. Poplar Dock boat users are supportive of Crossrail and we do not want any of the issues we raise today to be misconstrued as a lack of support for Crossrail. We recognise that Crossrail is vital for London and the future growth of the docklands areas. Our Petition concerns the method by which the proposed Crossrail Isle of Dogs Station would be constructed. We feel that, as it currently stands, it will have an unacceptable impact on our way of life and community.
21190. Before moving on I would like to make some clarifications about the current status of the Poplar Dock and Blackwall Basin communities. Within the Crossrail assessment of community impacts report, appendix 1, the following wording was used and we heard it used again today: "Poplar Dock has 90 berths, mostly for recreational use. Blackwall Basin has 20 berths, for larger vessels. These are all residential." I have also seen these phrases used in previous submissions to the Committee suggesting perhaps that there is a division between the boats that are used residentially primarily and those that are used for leisure purposes and I wish to correct this terminology and explain to the Committee why the terms "recreational" and "residential" are unhelpful and can be misleading.
21191. For the vast majority of us, the boats are our only home and many owners have invested heavily in their vessels. The vast majority of boats in Poplar and Blackwall are moored for pleasure or leisure purposes throughout the year, particularly in the summer months and for many this is integral to our way of life. Those owners who may not move their boats frequently for pleasure purposes must still move their boats for maintenance and all of us require access to dry dock or hard standing, where a boat is propped up on the land, for health and safety purposes. Therefore, all of the boats within both basins are mobile. Further to that, we are a community and we feel that any relocation options must consider all of the boat owners from our community rather than discriminate against some boaters on the terms of greater or lesser frequency of use.
21192. I would also like to clarify the importance of us having a permanent mooring site. A permanent mooring offers all the advantages of a fixed address along with the ability to unhitch and go cruising for a few days or months but always with the security of knowing you can return to the same place.
21193. A little bit about us as a community. Poplar Dock and Blackwall Basin are home to over 150 people. The marina is one of only two, the other being a sister marina at Limehouse, central London moorings that allows people to live aboard and that can accommodate such a wide variety of sizes, values and styles of boats. This variety of boats brings with it a diverse community spanning ages, backgrounds, income levels and experiences. We are proud that single people, married couples and same sex partners, disabled and able-bodied people, pensioners, expecting mothers and young children from the UK and internationally live together so cohesively. Our diversity is also apparent in the huge variety of occupations that people from within the community have, including many local key workers such as nurses, teachers and care workers, self-employed people, people in the creative industries, including journalists, actors, musicians, film-makers, illustrators and photographers, lawyers and other professionals, including civil servants, students, skilled tradespeople and people involved in the voluntary and community sector. Our current location plays a large part in the success of this community and moving us would threaten our future. Within Poplar we form a bridge between the high-cost housing in Canary Wharf and the social housing in Poplar and we continue to play a role in the ongoing regeneration of the area. The assessments of Community Impacts Report prepared for Crossrail states that: "berths are well subscribed and there is a waiting list of users. [There are a few alternative moorings in Central London] Alternatives include South Dock , St Katherine's Dock, Shadwell Basin and Limehouse Basin". I would like to clarify that none of the mooring mentioned above would have the capacity to provide moorings for the Poplar Dock and Blackwall Basin communities over a period of ten years, let alone the whole marina was evicted in one go. All of the moorings listed have specific qualifications for access which include regulations about the age, size or appearance of boat, meaning that the whole marina could not be moved together. Also, St Katherine's Dock and South Dock, like many commercial marinas, do not allow people to live aboard their boats so would not provide an alternative for Poplar Dock community members. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Angela E Smith MP, speaking in a debate on 27 June last year acknowledged that the demand for existing moorings is high and there needs to be an increase. This is particularly true for London in the South-East. Many community members have experienced waiting times of over three years to secure a place at Poplar of Blackwall. The Poplar Dock community is in total consensus that it wishes to remain in Poplar Dock, however, we are clear that this would only be possible with a navigable route to the Thames. Within the Crossrail document it states that: "If a waterway is temporarily closed under paragraph 10 of Schedule 2 to the Bill, paragraph 10(3) requires that no more of it is closed to navigation at any time than is necessary". As I outlined earlier, the current construction of the Isles of Dogs Station will result in the complete closure of the only navigating channel of vessels in Poplar and Blackwall docks for a minimum five year period, excluding the proposals we were just offered this morning. We dearly wish to be able to continue living as we do. There is a real fear of moving from our existing site as the community feels at risk of discrimination in any new site.
21194. Within Poplar Dock we are pleased to have achieved a positive relationship with local residents, a good level of support and understanding from the local authority and high engagement with local public services. Some residents do suffer from serious health complaints and movement of the community would force them to move to new practices and establish new relationships with health practitioners. Before any discussion about relocation or compensation of the Poplar community is pursued, we would want to be clear that absolutely every opportunity that would allow us to remain in our current site within the docks with a navigable channel has been explored.
21195. As a community we have identified four options, some of which were mentioned within our initial Petition that would allow us to remain as a community within Poplar Dock. A lot of those were covered earlier and I would like to go into detail of two of those. Option A, which involves adjusting the sighting of the cofferdams to ensure maintenance of a navigable channel via Bellmouth Passage, and option B, which involves bringing forward the construction of the proposed Wood Wharf Canal to ensure a new navigable passage to South Dock is in place before commencement of the new Isle of Dogs Crossrail Station begins.
21196. Option A, which I said involves adjusting the sighting of the cofferdams to ensure maintenance of a navigable channel by Bellmouth; I would like to make it clear, we just heard this morning about the revised proposals. We are pleased to hear of them and we would like to look in more detail at what that involves. We understand this will entail strengthening the wall in front of Billingsgate Fish Market in order that the cofferdam is secure. Altering the sighting of these cofferdams will make it possible to maintain navigation throughout the period of construction and therefore allow the community to remain within Poplar Dock and Blackwall basin. It would also allow more convenient access for barge traffic to carry materials to and from the Crossrail site. London Borough of Tower Hamlets has previously been supportive of our community in retaining navigable access to our current site, so we hope they will be supportive also of this option. We would like to make it clear that in remaining on these sites from the earlier discussion, it was made clear we would need the support of British Waterways also to enable us to get through that passage, so we would hope that they would show willing in regard to that.
21197. Option B was about bringing forward the construction of the proposed Wood Wharf Canal to ensure that a new navigable passage to South Dock is in place before the commencement of Crossrail station construction. We believe Crossrail has been in negotiations with the Wood Wharf group and they are seeking compensation from Crossrail in order to bring forward the start day of construction of the canal. However, at the moment we feel as a small group without influence we are caught between major vested interests, therefore we ask that the Committee urge the continued engagement of Crossrail with these negotiations and that we, as stakeholders, are kept adequately informed of these negotiations. We would wish that the financial impact of contributing to the cost of the construction of this canal are considered against the extremely serious impact that the loss of navigation would have on the communities of Poplar Dock and Blackwall Basin.
21198. I would like to make it clear, that is obviously reliant on the timings being agreed that enable us to maintain access throughout the period of construction. Again, for the purposes of clarity, we would like to make it clear that the Poplar Dock and Blackwall community would only seek a functional route through South Dock and from there to the Thames, so we would not be expecting the full construction of the canal with whistles and bells, as it were, simply an access route would be sufficient. The redesign of the cofferdams on Bellmouth Passage or a cut-through through Wood Wharf would allow us to remain on our current site, close to existing services and within a local community which we have developed a good level of integration with. Before going any further, I would like to state again, that we would wish to remain in place and would want all of the possible options for this to occur to be fully investigated, feasibility studies taken, costed and published before any relocation was considered. We feel Canary Wharf have spent 30 years building up an eco-system in the docks which we make an active contribution to and the two proposals outlined already would ensure that Poplar Dock and Blackwall Basins can remain intact and part of that eco-system.
21199. I would also like to comment on the option of relocating to Millwall Dock, as has been put before the Committee. This would sadly involve relocation of the community but we would hope essentially allow the community to remain together and it is in that way that we would want to consider this as an option. It was suggested within our original Petition and we believe it has been explored by the Crossrail team with British Waterways Docklands. To date it has been suggested that it would only be possible to secure moorings for a maximum or 20 average size boats at this site or even fewer of the larger vessels. We would urge the Committee to ensure that Crossrail and British Waterways continue negotiations about the site with a view to expanding the scope of the solution to ensure that all boats from Poplar Dock and Blackwall Basin could be accommodated at this site and that this would be accessible to all of our community members.
21200. We would hope that British Waterways, a government-funded agency whose annual report includes the following statement: "Supporting the growth in boating means developing a strategy for creating new moorings and upgrading existing berth" - would work hard to ensure that the Poplar Dock and Blackwall Basin communities are supported to remain in Docklands. Popular Dock Marina, our current home, is described by British Waterways Marinas Limited as: "Designed to offer boaters the highest quality facilities available in terms of safety, security, comfort and style". Within the marina facilities available to every boater, we have water and electricity for every boat, gas and fuel deliveries, telephone and Broadband, showers and toilets, including disabled access, a communal washing machine and dryer, rubbish disposal, security features, including a secure gate entry, security staff at night, secure car and bicycle parking and CCTV, pump out and Elsan disposal(chemical toilet)for sewage, recycling for household waste, a postal address and postal deliveries which community members took considerable time and effort to agree, plus a community communal public area. Within walking distance of the marina we also have easy access to medical health centres which the community are registered at, childcare facilities, such as crèche and day-care centres, local schools with one community member serving on the PTA, local shops and Crisp Street Market, post offices and banks, leisure centres and libraries which are well used by members, and the local dump for disposal of other boat waste, such as engine oil and lead acid batteries. We also have very good transport links with Blackwall DLR, Canary Wharf Underground et cetera, and a number of local bus stops which are key in preventing the total isolation of those members of the community with mobility problems. Therefore, if Poplar and Blackwall communities were to be moved from our current site to Milwall for the duration of the construction period, we would expect a like-for-like exchange and would need confirmation of a mooring that could accommodate the whole community facilities in place that would match those we currently have at Poplar and Blackwall, again, a guaranteed right of return to Poplar Dock and Blackwall Basin at the end of the construction and agreement that access to the Thames will not be impeded, despite access being reliant on the lifting of a very low swing bridge across Marsh Wall to allow access between Milwall and South Dock.
21201. Currently, our concerns with this site are that we have been told by British Waterways' operatives that the extremely low bridge entrance can only be lifted very rarely which would constrain our activities. The current suggested site is not able to take the community as a whole and currently there are no facilities in place for residential moorings. I believe the Milwall option was talked about at previous submissions and we were alarmed to hear the phrase, "fighting tooth and nail to reject this proposal" was put forward, it does not make us feel particularly welcome.
21202. I would also like to touch briefly on the relocation to the Royal Docks. One of the suggestions offered by Crossrail recently has been that there has been up to four sites within the Royal Docks. We are not clear whether the whole marina could be accommodated on one site which is what we would want. The option is extremely unpopular with residents for a number of reasons, including the close proximity of the marina to London City Airport and the resulting noise pollution and related health problems. As was mentioned, many of the smaller boats would not be able to get insurance to sail beyond the Thames Barrier, meaning the solution excludes some of our community. Also, Crossrail have indicated in discussion that although all boats could be accommodated within the Royal Docks, it would not be possible to moor all boats on the same site. The sites as offered are presently extremely desolate and do not offer any of the infrastructure currently available at our Poplar site, such as health and social care practitioners, accessible transport opportunities and adequate security. The current management authority of the docks, the Royal Docks Management Authority, do not currently allow any residential boats to be moored within the docks, to our knowledge. At our last meeting with Crossrail they realised that they had not mentioned the fact that they would be relocating residential boats to RoDMA and, as yet, we have not heard back whether this would be acceptable to them. Either way we feel that as a primarily commercial real estate venture they might not be fully supportive of residential boat owners, even if they granted permission.
21203. There is a fear that local residents would be unfamiliar with residential boaters and the community may face discrimination, and key services may not be able to cope with 150 new residents arriving on mass. Also, the London Docklands Development Corporation did a feasibility study into developing the Royal Docks' areas as moorings and that report states that: "In extreme weather conditions, ie, winter storms, craft on fixed moorings and access pontoons could be severely damaged, particularly in the south west corner during easterly gales", which makes residents extremely concerned about the safety of their vessels.
21204. In summary, there is a great deal of concern within the Poplar Dock and Blackwall communities about the lack of concrete options and the level of development of the current options as suggested by Crossrail. For example, to our knowledge, no feasibility studies of any of the suggested solutions have been formally undertaken or published, we have not yet seen them. If they have been, we have not seen the results of these and we believe that the Promoters of Crossrail are working hard with the local necessary stakeholders but we have not been involved directly in these conversations ourselves. We would ask the Committee to ensure that we are offered a far greater level of engagement in any future negotiations that relate to the future of Poplar and Blackwall Dock communities. We were only a small collection of boats whose voice feels very small when pitched against the hugely well resourced interests representing their particular interest in relation to this project. This is coupled with a history of boat dwellers being under-valued, discriminated against and overlooked. Whilst these relative vested interests play out their compensation claims our lives are on hold and over 150 people are left in fear of their future. We hope the Committee would ensure a greater urgency in finding a workable solution which becomes apparent within those agencies involved. In summary, Chairman and Members of the Committee, we do not feel we are currently being offered any solution to which the impending crisis places us and, in truth, we are unclear of what happens next. We are conscious that these hearings are almost over and we would hope to see a greater sense of urgency from the bodies involved committing to a workable solution, and we trust that the Committee's influence would be helpful in achieving this. We ask that the parties involved are tied to achieving a clear commitment that is in place before this Committee closes and is rigorous enough to be enforced in the future if we feel these agencies are not actively engaging with us to find a solution. We do bring vital skills and an understanding about living on boats that nobody else has and we would wish to be actively involved in future negotiations regarding our future.
21205. In closing, all of us want to stay at Poplar Dock, provided that access to the Thames is possible. We wish to be involved in the investigation of every possible opportunity to remain in Poplar Dock before relocation is considered as an option. River access is not only central to the idea of living on the boat but in reality it is essential to health and safety and boat maintenance, therefore being locked in is not an acceptable option. Taking away boaters' rights of passage is clearly a compromise to our way of life and is not something we can simply be financially compensated for. We have chosen to live in Poplar for all kinds of reasons and it is not just a case of having somewhere to moor a vessel. We have established links with the area, local services and local community. Recent newcomers to the site have paid considerably for the privilege to moor here and many have invested heavily in their vessels.
21206. Under the current circumstances, we are facing a significant loss in the value of our homes. Any solution must provide for the whole community as is currently situated within Poplar and Blackwall and so must be able to cater for the variety of personal, community and nautical needs that I have outlined. Any solution must protect the community against discrimination. Any alternative site must be within the Thames Barrier and provide the full level of services that we are currently provided with, as well as personal compensation for any displacement to a new relocation. The community does want to be part of the solution and we feel we have already committed over a 1000 hours and considerable resource to this negotiation process. We would ask the Committee to ensure that we have access to all of the information required and are supported in order to continue to play a full part in this process
21207. CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much indeed. Ms Lieven?
21208. MS LIEVEN: Sir, I am very much in the Committee's hands. I think we have Mr Fink from the British Waterways Board to explain their problems with the Milwall option, if the Committee want to here them. I obviously have Mr Berryman who can take you through more of the engineering on the proposals I have explained this morning in outline.
21209. CHAIRMAN: Perhaps we should deal with that now.
21210. MS LIEVEN: Sir, that would seem sensible. If the Committee hears from British Waterways at least then I will call Mr Berryman to explain where we have got to.
21211. MR BROWN: My name is Nicholas Brown of Bircham Dyson Bell, and I represent British Waterways, and Mr Dennis Fink would like to read a short statement. I believe you have before you a document including some plans and photographs which were passed to your clerk yesterday? I do not know whether the Committee has had a chance to look at those?
21212. CHAIRMAN: For the record, can this be marked as A245.
21213. MR BROWN: I do not know whether the Committee has had an opportunity to consider the paper that Mr Fink put in yesterday. He could read it through if that would help the Committee or if they have not read it all in detail or would like him to do so, he points to some salient points in the paper, whichever would be your wish, Sir.
21214. CHAIRMAN: It is not for us, it is what your representative wants to do, I should put that on the record; either way we have received it.
MR DENNIS FINK, Sworn
Examined by MR BROWN
21215. MR BROWN: I think it would be sensible then if Mr Fink read out his short statement.
(Mr Fink) Good morning. I have a short statement which I would like to read to the Committee. My name is Dennis Fink, MBE, and I am appearing on behalf of British Waterways, as requested before the Committee and I am pleased to do so. I am the Docklands Manager for British Waterways and have held that position since 1998. My job is to oversee the safety, maintenance, operation, improvement and development of the Isle of Dogs dock estate for British Waterways. I started working in the docks in 1973 and have more than 34 years' experience working in the former docks and Dockland area. I was awarded an MBE for services to Docklands in 2000. I hope to be able to provide assistance to the Committee in relation to the possible relocation of boats from Poplar Dock Marina and Blackwall Basin in London Docklands and to answer, where I am able, questions that the Committee may have. A short paper with accompanying plans and photographs concerning this matter were sent to your clerk yesterday. I hope the Committee has had the opportunity to read the paper and they have found it helpful. I would also like to reassure the Members of the Committee that British Waterways has discussed at length these issues with Crossrail and also with representatives of boat owners at Poplar Dock and Blackwell Basin, and British Waterways is committed to continue to work with all the parties to find a solution where this is possible. My paper sets out the concerns which British Waterways has regarding the viability of relocating boats from Poplar Dock and Blackwall Basin to the Milwall Docks, and I do not propose to repeat these concerns, save to reiterate that the main points of concern include that there is insufficient space for all the displaced vessels whilst retaining a navigable route though the Milwall Inner Dock. The area has poor access from land for all the services that boaters require and increased vessel movement through the Milwall Cutting will require more bridge lifts causing undue disruption to pedestrian and road traffic in the surrounding area. I would like to conclude my brief introduction by informing the Committee that British Waterways does have a solution to this problem. If I could divert slightly from this, this has also been slightly changed from the points that Ms Lieven made earlier this morning. If the Committee could consider Map 1, which is the map you have already been shown, showing the proposed route of the canal through the Wood Wharf development. Currently the navigable route to the lock entrance for the boat owners is via the North Dock, then via Bellmouth Passage from the South Dock and then to the dock entrance. If I could now ask the Committee to consider the plan marked number three, which is a map of Wood Wharf, which is the area of land which separates the Blackwall Basin from the South Dock and is subject to redevelopment plans. Part of the redevelopment includes the construction of a new canal which will allow direct access for boats in the Blackwall Basin and Poplar Docks to South Dock and from there to the River Thames, and you can see the proposed canal on the map. I believe the new canal could be constructed before the main Crossrail construction works commence, thereby creating a navigable route to the lock entrance which would allow all of the boats in Poplar Dock and Blackwall Basin to remain where they are. This point is included in the Petition of British Waterways against AP3 and has been raised by British Waterways with Crossrail on a number of occasions. At a meeting on Monday 12 March attended by Crossrail, Wood Wharf Partnership, Canary Wharf and British Waterways on this subject it was generally agreed that the early construction of the canal may be feasible. The parties agreed to do more on the proposal to see how it might be taken forward. If the new canal was constructed there would therefore be no need to relocate any of the boat owners from Poplar Dock and Blackwall Basin, equally if the navigable route was maintained through the Bellmouth Passage, which is the route the boaters currently use and, as was outlined by the Promoters and representatives this morning, that would also enable them to stay where they are. Thank you. I would be happy to answer any questions that the Members of the Committee may have.
21216. Can I ask Mr Fink one question, you would welcome, would you not, the proposals put forward to you which you saw for the first time at half past nine this morning which Ms Lieven so clearly put to the Committee earlier this morning?
(Mr Fink) Yes, British Waterways would certainly welcome those proposals and be happy to work with the Promoter to see if we could bring those to fruition because as Ms Stephens has said to you this morning, their desire is to remain there and we want to do all we can to work with them to make sure they do remain there, so British Waterways would be very happy to engage with the Promoter to see if we could bring that to fruition.
21217. CHAIRMAN: That is most helpful. Ms Lieven, do you want to question Mr Fink?
21218. MS LIEVEN: Sir, I was not intending to ask this witness any questions, he is really here to assist the Committee.
Cross-examined by THE COMMITTEE
21219. KELVIN HOPKINS: The question I have might be more for Mr Berryman rather than Mr Kink. We have been assured that there is no possibility of breaking through that former link to the Thames from Blackwall Basin, it has just now been blocked in, and given that all of the other solutions involve some difficulties, some expense, that solution is being put out of court. It seems to me that given the expense of constructing this other canal, for example, that it might be no more expensive to reopen that link there and put a bridge rather than a blocked road across it?
(Mr Fink) There was a bridge over that old lock entrance originally but that was filled in many years during the times of the London Docklands Development Corporation. It is now a solid causeway all the way down to the bottom of the lock, so basically a solid concrete structure. It has a couple of very small pipes running through it to enable water from the dock to be passed into the remaining isolated end of the lock at the river end. The footways and road carry an enormous number of utility services, sewers, water mains, gas, electricity, high voltage power cables, telecommunications, all of which would need to be diverted. Clearly, it could be done. If somebody threw enough money at that, that could be done. The lock gates had no operating machinery; residential dwellings had been built over all the land which used to house the operating equipment there. The lock gates have been closed off and fully supported by concrete on the outer side because that forms part of the island walkway around the river edge. Obviously all of that would need to be taken account of and indeed a dual-carriageway bridge would need to be constructed over that because Preston's Road at that is a dual carriageway which would then isolate that section of the island community between that bridge and the Manchester Road Bridge over our lock entrance to the south. That would mean there would be operational issues to be taken into account to ensure that emergency vehicles, et cetera, could get to those areas. I would say to you, it is feasible but I have no idea how much cost it would be, but it has been looked at, I believe, by the Promoter, considered but discounted because of the issues it raises.
21220. MS STEPHENS: Is it possible to ask a question?
21221. CHAIRMAN: It is not the norm, but, yes.
21222. MS STEPHENS: I just wonder if you can explain why the 1882 cut through ---
(Mr Fink) Underneath Cartier Circle?
(Mr Fink) The Petitioners from Poplar did send me an email of a small cut, which Ms Lieven mentioned, running underneath the roundabout at Cartier Circle. I think the points were answered by Ms Lieven in as much as it does need to cut through a Grade 1 listed wall and it would need to be a temporary structure. I do not know whether all the vessels would be able to get out through there and it does fall quite clearly within the Phase 1 construction of the Wood Wharf development and that is not a matter which is under my control. That would be for Wood Wharf to decide whether that was a feasible option or not.
The witness withdrew
21224. CHAIRMAN: Mr Filk, thank you very much indeed for coming along, we are most grateful. What I am going to do now is ask for the room to be cleared and give us five minutes and then we will recall the meeting.
After a short break
21225. CHAIRMAN: Can I just say at the outset that we want to thank both Petitioners who came here today and, also, British Waterways Board, which we found very helpful indeed. The Committee is sympathetic to the views expressed by all sides, including that of the Promoters. Therefore, what I am going to state is we welcome the engineering solution suggested this morning, and we can see that all parties would welcome being able to keep the Petitioners in Poplar Dock. We ask the Promoters to go away and promote the relevant additional provisions and the supplementary Environmental Statement required. Well done, Ms Stephens.
21226. Can I also say that I have been asked by Members to commend you on your document, which was very good. Thank you very much. Well done.
21227. MS LIEVEN: Thank you, sir.
21228. MR BROWN: Thank you, from British Waterways Board.
The Petition of the Trustees of the SS Robin Trust.
MR DAVID KAMPFNER AND MRS NISHANI KAMPFNER appeared on behalf of the Petitioner.
21229. MR KAMPFNER: Good morning, sir. With your permission, my wife is co-founder of the charity and has managed to be here today. We had a busy day on board the ship but we have managed both to be here. With the Committee's permission, can we both say a little bit about the project?
21230. CHAIRMAN: Like most partnerships, there are two sides. Before you do, I would like to bring in Mr Mould to outline the issue.
21231. MR MOULD: Thank you, sir. Mr Kampfner and his wife appear for the SS Robin, which is a historic steam ship which is currently moored in West India Dock North. I believe you have been handed this little bundle of exhibits. Is that right? Pages 1 to 16. If I can ask the Committee to look at page 1 of 16, this is an aerial photograph of West India Dock North. You can see that the SS Robin is presently moored towards the eastern end of West India Dock North, just to the west of the DLR railway bridge. You have found the location.
21232. Last week, on Day 79, you will recall the Committee heard from Mr Julian Cartwright, who appeared to present the Petition of other commercial boat owners currently moored in West India Dock, and you see those boats shown on that aerial photograph as well. The historic steam ship, the SS Robin, is used, I believe, for exhibitions and other similar purposes. Ms Lieven explained last week, when she opened our case in relation to Mr Cartwright's Petition, that the effect of the construction programme for the Isle of Dogs station is that the commercial boats presently moored within West India Dock will need to be relocated elsewhere within the dock complex, and that is something that is necessary under both of the construction scenarios that we have presented to the Committee.
21233. The reasons for that were briefly stated by Ms Lieven when she explained the position to you. They, essentially, result from the fact it is necessary, under the first scenario, to partially drain this dock and, under the second scenario, the dock is to be used as a repository for silt, and so it is not possible to retain these boats in that location. So the focus has turned to seeking to negotiate, particularly with Canary Wharf Group and British Waterways Board, alternative locations for this vessel and for the other commercial vessels. You heard from Ms Lieven about the progress of negotiations in that respect last week. Just to summarise the position: remember, we mentioned that the preferred location was the Middle Branch, the Middle Dock, and that you will recall, if you turn to page 2 of 16, was an area of water just to the south of West India Dock North. You will see that area, Middle Branch Dock, is shown there.
21234. I mention that just to set the context because the position with regard to the SS Robin is that due to its size, particularly the height of the vessel, it is not possible for it to be relocated to that dock. So in the case of the SS Robin the solution that we are looking to achieve is that it should go to South Dock. South Dock is also shown on the plan which you have in front of you; it is the next body of water to the south of the main Canary Wharf development area.
21235. My understanding is that negotiations between ourselves, the Canary Wharf Group and British Waterways Board are progressing positively in relation to that proposal. At the moment it looks like there is a reasonably good prospect that we will be able to secure that solution.
21236. The other point that was raised last week by the Committee was that, inevitably, any relocation for a commercial organisation is going to involve some costs that would, obviously, not be incurred but for the Crossrail works. You will recall that, I think, Mr Binley asked if we would write to Mr Cartwright and to the Committee in order to explain what the compensation regime would be in relation to reimbursement of those costs, and we have done that. I think you have received a letter from us addressed to Mr Cartwright. I have shown a copy of that letter, dated 22 March 2007, to Mr Kampfner this morning. In short, what we pointed out was that under the Bill there is actually a specific compensation provision which deals with situations where persons are deprived of a private right of navigation as a result of the Crossrail works, which would be the situation here, obviously, with the closure of Bellmouth Passage, and we have explained that that being case that right of compensation would provide a route to reimbursement of the kinds of costs that I have mentioned. That would apply as much to the SS Robin as it would to the other commercial boat owners we were focusing on last week.
21237. So, sir, that is the current position in relation to this Petitioner, and I will hand over to Mr Kampfner.
21238. MRS KAMPFNER: Actually, I am going to start. My name is Nishani Kampfner, I am the co-founder of the SS Robin Trust, a registered charity that was set up in 2002. I have held the Chairman (?) position for the last five years, which was set at the last board meeting.
21239. We have spent the last five years developing what was a more or less derelict historic ship into a community creative arts space, which benefits local schools, the local business community and we are now starting to attract more regional visitors as well. There are two concerns that we have. First of all, I should say to the Committee that we are in support of the Crossrail development and believe it will be very beneficial to the area. The concerns that we have are the negative impact on the ship during the construction and engineering works in the dock specifically. The ship itself is on the National Historic Ships Register. She is a fully listed vessel on the same register as Cutty Sark, Belfast and SS Great Britain. She was locally built in 1890 (?) and we believe that her current berth is really a fitting place for her in her more modern use as a community space. We run a volunteer organisation that donates a lot of time and hours to maintaining the ship on an ongoing basis, and many of those volunteers are from the local community.
21240. The second issue that we have in terms of the actual use of the project is that we converted the ship into a documentary photography gallery and a learning space, and over the last three years have increasing numbers of youngsters coming there, experiencing the ship in different guises and learning and supporting their learning in school. We are concerned about the impact of any kind of relocation, given the links we have built up with local schools and local businesses who support us.
21241. We have had some consultation with both British Waterways and Crossrail in terms of looking at the possibilities, and we are really here today to safeguard the future of the ship and ensure that there is no damage done to the project and the physical structure of the ship, and to try to put some plan in place with the stakeholders during the construction period.
21242. MR KAMPFNER: Sir, can I, with your permission, distribute some photographs of our location? (Same distributed)
21243. CHAIRMAN: For the record, A246.
21244. MR KAMPFNER: Sir, the pictures that you have been given today illustrate a little bit about the project, but can I just give a little bit of background in addition to what my wife has mentioned. We are a registered charity, we are a non-profit organisation and we are, essentially, volunteer led. My wife and I co-founded the project in 2002 and we were hugely supported by Mr Fink, who is here today, from British Waterways. British Waterways Board have been extremely helpful and valuable supporters of the project, as are our other corporate mentors in the area who help us with the school projects that we run on board, including Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley and Lehman Brothers. We have volunteers from those organisations who help us mentoring the school students who come on board.
21245. Essentially, the ship is the oldest complete steam ship in the world and she is the last remaining steam coaster of her type, and is an excellent example of British merchant shipping. It is fitting that she should be in West India Dock, given that she was built in Bow. I feel, to some extent, that her position in West India Dock has been neglected for a while and that, thankfully, since we have been able to develop this project, some of that sense of history is starting to come back, and that is the core of the project that we run with schools around issues of history and identity and heritage. Those benefits are starting to be seen through some of the local schools that we work with.
21246. We are also beginning to be supported by some of the high-tech industries around us, some of whom I have mentioned, and they are increasingly also joined by computer companies, including Apple Computers, who have donated equipment and training to us and school groups who come on board.
21247. Our major concern is the loss of these last five years of hard work that the professional volunteers and community volunteers have put into the project. Relocating the ship is potentially disastrous for this project. If we were to lose the visibility, the sense of historic place, the transport links, the pedestrian safety which is key for the school groups, and the visibility that is important for our corporate mentors to be able to come on board and help us, we feel that the project may well die. It is not by any means secure; funding is not at all secure in place for the long term, and we exist on a process of donations that we are building but which is, essentially, down to our links with the corporate groups that we have built relationships with over the past five years.
21248. If I can just briefly touch on some of the possibilities from the suggestions which have been mentioned today in terms of relocation, I would like to say, to begin with, that the indications that we have been given are that West India Quay is not yet, as far as I know, definitively to be drained west of the DLR bridge. I would appreciate your advice or guidance on this. We are unclear as to whether that is, actually, a definitive statement or whether this is still available for negotiation. Obviously, our primary objective would be to maintain our existence in West India Dock as we are, on the north side of West India Quay. If there is any way at all that we can maintain that presence that would be, without doubt, our preference.
21249. To come on to Middle Dock, which is one of the suggestions which has been made, Middle Dock, if we did have to move, would be our second preference. As far as we understand, there is not a navigable reason why we could not be there. We are a little bit unsure why that has been suggested as a problem. We understand that on a navigable basis we would be able to find a space within Middle Dock.
21250. South Quay represents considerable problems for us. I think if we were to find ourselves relocated to South Quay we would discover that local schools would have difficulty reaching us; we would have difficulties with the pedestrian access and we would also find that some of the corporate mentors and supporters would start to wane on the basis of that location. We also have proximity to the museum on the Docklands, which we appreciate and we feel is very valuable, and we believe that West India Dock is, as has been indicated by some of our stakeholders, our natural home. We would like to state quite categorically that if there is any way at all to maintain our presence there we would like that to be considered.
21251. We are, at the moment, in the process of a significant fundraising bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore the integrity of the hull of the ship, which is an 1890 ribbed and steel (?) hull, which needs to be refitted at some point in the near future. If there is a way in which we can be refitted before any particular land-locking of West India Dock that may be, also, a possibility that we would be interested in discussing, but obviously it is the intention of all the stakeholders that we remain visible and that we continue to be an icon, if you like, for the history of the docks.
21252. We are the only publicly accessible historic ship in East London. We are, as my wife mentioned, on the same core collection list as the Cutty Sark. The only reason we believe that Robin has not had the visibility and public awareness as Cutty Sark until now is purely the fact that she has lain derelict until 2002, and we hope to see her restored to as much a jewel of East London as we think Cutty Sark is in South London.
21253. She was brought back in 1974 from Spain by the Maritime Trust as a shining example of her type, and that project was led by HRH Duke of Edinburgh, who is also one of our patrons. We feel that she has a fantastic future and we feel that if that future is compromised by a location in which the awareness dwindles, some of the motivation and the enthusiasm that we have built over the last five years would be difficult to restore were she to come back to West India Dock after that period of time. We would like to maintain that visibility and we appreciate your understanding.
21254. CHAIRMAN: Thank you.
21255. MR MOULD: I am going to ask Mr Berryman to go briefly to the witness table and deal with the question of relocation.
MR KEITH BERRYMAN, recalled
Examined by MR MOULD
21256. MR MOULD: Mr Berryman, first of all, I have explained to the Committee that the position is that we feel that we have to relocate the SS Robin for the purposes of constructing the Isle of Dogs station. Just in terms of the permanent situation, is there any reason why the SS Robin should not then return after construction has been completed to its present berth?
(Mr Berryman) From our perspective, there is absolutely no reason at all why that should not happen. I know that British Waterways Board are very supportive of Robin, so I would be quite surprised if they have any objection in principle. Certainly from our point of view, no, there is no reason why not.
21257. Just remind us: what is the expected duration of the works in North Dock?
(Mr Berryman) It would take about a minimum of 3.5 years and a maximum of 5 years before the water was let back into the dock.
21258. So that is the situation from a permanent perspective. Let us turn to the construction phase.. What is the situation? Mr Kampfner has asked for reassurance about the position as to whether or not it would be possible for the SS Robin to remain in situ during the course of the works. What is the situation?
(Mr Berryman) I think there are two scenarios, as you know, that we have been developing over the construction of the station. One of them involves lowering the water in the dock by about 5 metres. To put that into perspective, this room measures 6.7 metres high, so the boat would be a long way down the quay wall if it were to stay there. The other option involves the complete draining of the dock in that particular area, albeit it will be a silt store. The reality is, from the boat's perspective, leaving it in a place where it could not be got out if it needed any attention or work would be an extremely risky thing to do, and our argument would be it is not actually possible for it to stay there. Quite apart from our construction issues, there are also issues to do with the boat itself.
21259. We were told that the boat is a historic vessel and Mr Kampfner said something about its value in that respect.
(Mr Berryman) Yes. As he said, and as most of us have seen, it is quite an old vessel and extremely risky if it needed any attention that it could not be got at.
21260. Assume the need to relocate. I mentioned that we have referred to Middle Dock and to South Dock in responding to Mr Cartwright's organisation last week. What is the position insofar as this particular vessel is concerned?
(Mr Berryman) We understand that the water draught in the channel which connects the Middle Dock to the South Dock - I can show you on this (it is very difficult without a projector but it is this little bit here (indicated)) - is actually quite shallow and only about 2.5 metres deep. That is our understanding. If that is the case it would not necessarily be possible to get the SS Robin through that channel. There is another location in South Dock in the area just marked here (indicated) which would be adjacent to the footbridge which runs across the dock, which would be another potential location. I think what we would do is agree to work with the SS Robin and British Waterways Board and Canary Wharf, and others, to find a location which, as far as possible, is as accessible as the location which the Robin has now. Clearly, it cannot be quite as good but as close as we can get to that. There are quite a number of options we can continue to discuss. It would be fair to say the SS Robin is strongly supported, as I think the Petitioners said, by British Waterways Board and, also, by Canary Wharf, and I think there is a strong desire to find an appropriate location.
21261. Just one other question: reference has been made to the historic value of the ship, and the Committee will remember that in relation to buildings of historic value we have given a number of commitments about the process we will undertake to protect those buildings from any adverse effects. Is there a commitment we can give to the Committee in relation to this vessel in that respect?
(Mr Berryman) Obviously, the same commitments do not apply, for obvious reasons, but I think the same principles would apply, that we would take all necessary steps to ensure that the safety of the vessel was maintained, if the vessel has to be moved as a result of our works.
21262. Presumably, in that respect, we would consult closely with the Petitioners as the custodians of the vessel to ensure that the appropriate steps were taken.
(Mr Berryman) Indeed, indeed, and any other appropriate body which needed to have input there.
21263. MR MOULD: Thank you very much.
Cross-examined by MR KAMPFNER
21264. MR KAMPFNER: Sir, we are still unclear as to whether it is a done deed that West India Dock will be drained and we will have to move.
(Mr Berryman) It is a done deal.
21265. Am I able to seek guidance from British Waterways on this?
(Mr Berryman) By all means.
21266. CHAIRMAN: I am afraid they are not here now; you will have to take Mr Berryman, at the moment, who is the Chief Executive of Crossrail.
21267. MR KAMPFNER: West India Dock from the west side of the DLR Bridge will be retained?
(Mr Berryman) Either the whole of West India Dock will be drained to half its depth - so there would be about 5 metres of water in the bottom of it - or the whole of the dock with the exception of the small area at the very west end will be fully drained. That small area at the west end will be used as a silt lagoon for the storage of silt material dredged from the bottom of the dock.
21268. And this is agreed?
(Mr Berryman) These are the powers we are seeking under this Bill.
21269. That is different from being agreed. I am not a politician, I do not understand the difference, but ----
21270. CHAIRMAN: Mr Kampfner, you are here to give your views as a Petitioner. We are listening to what you say and then we will make a decision in the light of the Petition you have made.
21271. MR KAMPFNER: I understand. From our point of view, we would argue very strongly that the draining of West India Dock to the west side of the DLR bridge would be nothing short of disastrous for ourselves and for other stakeholders, but we are only here today to represent ourselves. If there is any way the Committee can see another solution we would plead for that, because Middle Dock - we would argue that we can still find a way through to Middle Dock - would be an alternative. There are issues about the oxygenation plant in Middle Dock, which I believe would accelerate corrosion, but I understand there are ways of mitigating against that effect. South Dock would be extremely impactable on us negatively. I do not believe that we could continue the project as is if we were going to South Quay.
21272. CHAIRMAN: Is Middle Dock an option or not?
(Mr Berryman) My understanding is that there is an issue about whether they can get into Middle Dock, but we are very happy to explore that further and do a detailed survey.
21273. CHAIRMAN: If you could examine that and keep us informed.
(Mr Berryman) We certainly will, yes. As I said earlier, we are committed to working with the Petitioner and British Waterways Board and other parties to find an adequate solution to this.
21274. CHAIRMAN: You realise, Mr Kampfner, the position which you have been given today is the Promoter's position; that is what they say is necessary for them to deliver Crossrail. You are here as a Petitioner saying you do not think that is a good idea, you do not agree with it or you want something else doing instead. We are asking Mr Berryman to see whether this Middle Dock solution is possible.
21275. MR KAMPFNER: Thank you, sr.
21276. MRS KAMPFNER: I would just like to add, I think the real issue is going to be that if the proposed works are a minimum of three and possibly up to five years and that we have to relocate in an area which is not conducive to continuing the development of both the volunteer programme and the schools programme that we have spent the last five years building, then I think the continuation of how we operate is seriously in jeopardy. We have spent five years building something from nothing based on being berthed in that dock, and to start again somewhere else is just not possible.
21277. CHAIRMAN: Can I ask you both a question? If you did get Lottery funding for fitting a new hull, how long would that take to complete?
21278. MR KAMPFNER: We believe that the work may take a year. Most of these things usually overrun. Once the budget was put in place it would be, at least, a year from now to agree that budget, were we to be in a position to submit the bid.
21279. CHAIRMAN: And then for the work to be carried out a further year?
21280. MR KAMPFNER: And then to find a yard that has availability and the skills to do the work, it may well take a considerable period of time - possibly from now until at least two years in order to bring her back - in the best case scenario.
21281. CHAIRMAN: Mr Berryman, would you like to comment any further? I think all the questions have been asked. I do not think you are coming back, Mr Mould.
21282. MR MOULD: No, I certainly do not think so.
21283. MR KAMPFNER: If I can just add an additional point, which is that as part of this Heritage Lottery bid, which is absolutely crucial for our long-term future, as I am sure you will appreciate, a ship of that age is fragile. She has not been out of the water for 20 years, and when we took over the Maritime Trust had been looking after the superstructure for 10 years in West India Dock, but the last time she had been taken out of the water was in the early 1980s. We understand that Heritage Lottery is very positive towards our project and very supportive of our project, but obviously accessibility for disabled users is an important issue. As part of our bid, we are working with heritage consultants and the Heritage Lottery to understand what access we can arrange for wheelchair and other mobility impaired users. We believe that the current understanding of heritage interpretation today on a vessel of this type is that a solution, for instance, such as the Cutty Sark, where an entrance was cut into the side of the hull, is obviously not acceptable as it would cause considerable damage to the heritage of the ship. We understand that the way that access would be arranged on a vessel floating in the dock might be through an interpretation centre on a pontoon, perhaps, either on the side of the vessel or in the interpretation centre close by the vessel, in which perhaps a multimedia experience of the interior of the vessel would be displayed. This directly impacts on any future mooring that we might be taken to because our relationship with Heritage Lottery, obviously, is highly dependent on where the vessel sits, and their concerns are that wheelchair access and disabled access are taken into account.
(Mr Berryman) Sir, at the point that we are looking at in South Dock (I know the Petitioner is not very keen on that) there is already a form of access provided by the existing footbridge which comes across that dock, which provides direct access from the main Canary Wharf complex to that location. That exists already. There would be room there for the mooring of a pontoon as well.
21284. CHAIRMAN: I wonder if you could give to Mr Berryman, and the Promoters, these ideas, and you could have a word with British Waterways, and, again, a second note on what it would propose for the future use of a pontoon.
(Mr Berryman) Yes.
21285. MR KAMPFNER: Thank you, sir.
The witness withdrew
21286. MR MOULD: I am conscious of the time, and I will be literally one minute. We have explained the reasons why, in reality, the issue here is where to relocate to rather than whether relocation is necessary. As regards where to relocate to, we have explained our full commitment to using our reasonable endeavours to finding alternative moorings for the Petitioners, as we have with other vessels within West India Dock. You have heard from the Petitioner and ourselves that both British Waterways Board and Canary Wharf and other commercial bodies in the area support the Robin and the work that they do, and the Committee can draw some reassurance from that, in my submission; you can be reassured that all will be looking to do what they can, within reason, to find an appropriate alternative location. Of course, that does not just mean a place, it means somewhere which the Robin is able to work with and to continue to carry out its work from during the period of the construction works before it then comes back, which I understand it may, to its current location. I think it is also important to bear in mind that Crossrail, as a Promoter, is obviously committed, as I have said, to use reasonable endeavours and within reason to deal with the effects of the Crossrail project. No doubt that point will be borne in mind by all when further discussion that we have said we will gladly undertake (and Mr Berryman will be writing to you about that) takes place in due course.
21287. MR KAMPFNER: Can I just ask for some clarification on something? I am unclear, after this meeting today, on what our position is in terms of any kind of commitment.
21288. CHAIRMAN: What happens following today is that the Committee as a whole meets on all these issues and we will take decisions on the presentations which have been made or the evidence which is asked for, because we have asked for further notes to be sent to us. We will take all these things into consideration and then we will take a view, and that will be published as our response to the Bill.
21289. MR KAMPFNER: Thank you, sir. If we were to be offered a mooring which we felt would be completely impossible for us to operate from, for instance - assuming that were to be the position - what happens?
21290. CHAIRMAN: What we have to do is to listen to the presentations made by yourselves and the Promoters and any other evidence which you can gather en route, and we will have to take a view one way or the other. At the end of the day, we will come to a view. I give you fair notice that the Committee is very limited in what it can do. For instance, we could not say whether Crossrail will happen; we are directed by Parliament for Crossrail to come into being. However, we do take all evidence very, very seriously and take a view. Once we have taken that view it will be published in due course.
21291. MR KAMPFNER: Thank you, sir. Am I okay to sum up? Thank you. Essentially, S Robin, we believe, is a major contribution to our merchant history and our merchant navy. The legacy that she can potentially contribute to East London's understanding of the history of Docklands is immense and we are only at the beginning of that journey. We believe that her location is absolutely essential and that visibility and the awareness of the project are directly linked to her location, historically as well as from a practical, transport and accessibility point of view. We are only just starting to make an impact on the local community in terms of the understanding that schools have of the Docklands area, and the work that we have been doing has been extremely successful in the last two or three years since we started the education programme, and we believe that this is something that can become an important part of East London's experience of Docklands. We beg for your understanding that our location is crucial in that contribution.
21292. MRS KAMPFNER: Can I add finally, as well, that the current location of West India Quay actually provides the only source of sustainable revenue stream for our charity. We have no government funding whatsoever. We are completely reliant on donations from local businesses and, also, their use in terms of private hire and functions on the ship, all the proceeds of which go to the work we do with schools. Without that revenue stream we will not have any money to keep the project going. Thank you.
21293. CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much. That concludes the second hearing today. We will now rise and reconvene at 2.30.
After a short adjournment
21294. CHAIRMAN: Can I first of apologise for being slightly late, but we were expecting a vote but that will now take place around 3.20. If that happens we will suspend the Committee while we go out and vote and then come back. The Petition which we will hear is the final one today and is that of the Residents Society of Mayfair and St. James. Mr Levaggi, before you start, usually we get counsel to give us a summary of where we are.
The Petition of the Residents' Society of Mayfair and St James
MR LEVAGGI appeared on behalf of the Petitioners
21295. MR LEVAGGI: Sir, I was going to do it myself but I am more than happy for counsel to do it.
21296. MS LIEVEN: Sir, I am going to make a summary which is that you have heard from these petitioners on a number of occasions, you will recall the last time they attended I made a brief submission as to why really they should be given little if any further time, I am not going to read those submissions. You will remember that their principal point was to promote an alternative alignment north of Oxford Street known as the Wigmore Street alignment. Mr Berryman has already given evidence once to this Committee as to why that is not a sensible solution in transport terms, but I do have him here, so if the Committee want to hear that evidence again, we can call it again if necessary, but I do not intend to open again and I will leave it up to the Committee as to the time given to the Petitioner.
21297. CHAIRMAN: Mr Levaggi, before you proceed, I know it was a bit problematic at the last hearing. Just to reiterate two points, first of all, the alignment is set, we are charged with seeing this thing through so we cannot go and revisit that, that has been done and we really are quite firm on repetition, so if you want to make a case alone on those slight restrictions, you may.
21298. MR LEVAGGI: Sir, yes, you wrote to us on 14 March and you asked me to advise my clients to raise issues which only genuinely relate to AP3 and Sir, in my submission the evidence that we will present today does genuinely relate to AP3. The main issue to be raised, which is the one which relates to the costs and on the evidence provided by the Promoter, the additional cost of AP3 on their case is £470 million. That is practically £0.5 billion and the submissions we will make and the evidence we will give today relates to whether or not it is sensible to spend this £0.5 billion generated by the third set of amendments and provisions so I would like to call my first and only witness, Norman Winbourne.
MR NORMAN WINBOURNE, recalled
Examined by MR LEVAGGI
21299. MR LEVAGGI: Could you advise me whether it is necessary for Mr Winbourne to identify himself?
21300. CHAIRMAN: He is already on the record.
21301. MR LEVAGGI: His CV is at tab one of the bundle.
21302. CHAIRMAN: For the benefit of the record, it has already been listed as AP3.
21303. MR LEVAGGI: Mr Winbourne, could you turn to tab three of the bundle?
(Mr Winbourne) Yes.
21304. You prepared this document, did you not, headed "Revised planning balance sheet"?
(Mr Winbourne) That is right.
21305. Mr Winbourne, this relates to AP3?
(Mr Winbourne) Yes.
21306. Item one is headed "Paddington Crossrail Station AP3". What is your opinion of the current proposal for the Paddington Crossrail Station and the amendments AP3?
(Mr Winbourne) They are cutting down it seems, as far as I can see, to an island platform for economy and ten coach trains only. I see no reason for that. Twelve coach trains is the norm that Network Rail and everybody want to run to. I cannot see any reason why we cannot have 12 coach trains stations on Crossrail, whatever the final answer may be.
21307. You say that the station costing guide says it is £400 million?
(Mr Winbourne) That is very rough. I have not been given any exact figures, if you want to be pejorative, you could say I plucked them out of the air, they are the sorts of figures, I have discussed this with Michael Shavers who has been a witness before, he is a railway construction man and that is the sort of cost of these Crossrail stations with the twin tunnels and so on, they are very expensive items. This one happens to be a cut-and-cover but it is under Paddington and under Eastbourne Terrace where there is a considerable disruption of the services and the roads in a major road.
21308. As it currently stands following AP3, do you think this proposal is cost‑effective?
(Mr Winbourne) No.
21309. Why not?
(Mr Winbourne) You still have Paddington Station entrances, this is where you are putting the Crossrail platform, Paddington Station stays where it is. Where I would put the Crossrail platforms under the basin, the cost would be halved.
21310. You are saying, are you, that the AP3 amendments are not the most cost-effective?
(Mr Winbourne) They are not. May I say the proposal that I made for putting the station under Paddington basin is not unlike their own proposal at the Isle of Dogs where they are proposing to drain a basin, put a station in and put the water back afterwards.
21311. What do you mean by the Paddington basin suggestion?
(Mr Winbourne) Paddington basin is big enough to take one and a half times the size of City Thames Link Station which is the only 12 coach station in London underground or appearing to be underground. In effect, it was a cut-and-cover job where the viaduct was knocked down, it was rebuilt, it needs looking at, it has two tracks in the middle with platforms either side which is what you can achieve or build up from the ground basis. If you simply go to an A‑Z and look at the size of that station, you can fit it in a Paddington basin one and a half times.
21312. This is cheaper than AP3?
(Mr Winbourne) Undoubtedly. Generally speaking it has to be because there are no services or anything in Paddington basin, you are simply draining it, putting in a station and putting the water back, there are no services, not like Eastbourne Terrace.
21313. What about disruption caused?
(Mr Winbourne) I would say there has been very little. There would be some affect on the buildings around Paddington basin. There may possibly have to be some compensation, I doubt very much, it is not as serious as what they are proposing.
21314. Mr Winbourne, the second item on your revised planning balance sheet is headed "Paddington to Bond Street via Crossrail"?
(Mr Winbourne) Before you go on to that can I say that I mentioned four possible options at Paddington all of which would be less intrusive in my opinion. The Paddington basin one is my preferred option, there are a couple more and there is even a possibility which would be similar to this which would be to go under Edgware Road itself. Obviously that would be disruptive to services and so on.
21315. For clarity, how does this relate to AP3?
(Mr Winbourne) It is simply the case that their Crossrail station at AP3 is a bad buy in itself and also it creates the need for more disruptive tunnelling to get onto the next station that need not apply otherwise.
21316. Are there any additional points that you wish to make about the second item, "Paddington to Bond Street via Crossrail"?
(Mr Winbourne) It is very simple. They never asked me when I said there was an alternative alignment, they simply went and did their own thing. I say you go from Paddington to Bond Street largely under Edgware Road, there is nothing under there, no tubes or anything that is of significance and it is even possible to consider at a lower cost because the tunnelling is very expensive with these huge twin tunnels. Edgware Road is wide enough to consider cut-and-cover. Cut-and-cover would mean that it would cost about a third the moment you do that. London Underground is proposing big cut-and-cover to dig up Marylebone Road again to re‑do the Circle line.
21317. Mr Winbourne, for clarity when you say they propose, this relates to the Hybrid Bill as amended as the proposal is under AP3, that is correct, is it not?
(Mr Winbourne) The difficulty that one has is AP3 is based on the original thing and I am saying that the alignment is the stations, the station entrances are not altering to any great degree, whether they be at Bond Street, or they be at Paddington. I am saying, and I hope the Committee will not think I am taking any liberties because I hope this is terribly important, not only do you cut the cost enormously, especially if you can do cut-and-cover, it goes down exponentially, it also means that you do not disrupt that whole area where there are huge numbers of listed buildings and so on. It is the easy route and it is the route that would have been chosen traditionally in London for the tubes or anything.
21318. Mr Winbourne, can we deal with your third heading, "Bond Street Crossrail Station"?
(Mr Winbourne) Yes, it is important to Mayfair.
21319. What do you think of the proposed amendments to the works at Bond Street?
(Mr Winbourne) They are extremely expensive, they are caused by predictable overcrowding as a result of the Jubilee Line extension to the East which should have been addressed ages ago and they have compelled them to look north of Oxford Street, extremely expensively, to knock down, for example, additional buildings. They propose to knock down in all four or five buildings, the most expensive of which they spot value themselves, it is the one in this consultation document. They put £50 million on that building alone which is on the north side of Oxford Street in the most expensive prime retail patch in Europe, a little to the east of Selfridges. They are proposing to knock that down, I think they have selected it because of prejudice against the 1960s type of building and also its location obviously, the fact is that it is completely unnecessary in my opinion. If you keep your station at Bond Street, you simply put the Crossrail platforms not under Mayfair, but under the north side of Oxford Street. Same station, yes, of course, there will be additional entrances, but there will be with their scheme too.
21320. The same station as suggested by the direction from the House on the second reading to the Committee?
(Mr Winbourne) Yes.
21321. The same station?
(Mr Winbourne) Yes, Bond Street.
21322. The station that the Committee has been directed to include in the proposal, that is correct is not it?
(Mr Winbourne) It is and it is not in exactly the same position as they would have the Committee believe. They have produced papers saying where I would put the station which is rubbish. That station would go approximately under Wigmore Street from the south side of Portland Square as far to the east probably as James Street or thereabouts. This is not exact, so we have not had an opportunity to work it out with senior engineers and I believe it is possible to consider a cut-and-cover station on that part of Wigmore Street as well because it is wide enough. There again, instead of these huge tunnels with compensation granting which I have given evidence on before and I do not want to harp on that, but you will recall it, if you can go for a cut-and-cover station again you are miles ahead, it is going to cost a third of the other costs, maybe less.
21323. Mr Winbourne, the real issue is one of costs, is it not?
(Mr Winbourne) Of course.
21324. It is one of the costs of the works consequential upon AP3, that is correct, is it not?
(Mr Winbourne) It is one of the costs, but it is also one of much less overall environmental disturbance.
21325. Disturbance and costs?
(Mr Winbourne) Both disturbance and costs.
21326. Sir, I would like to refer Mr Winbourne to a page of evidence, which is page 6/9 of west CCAP32704. It is on the screen. Have you seen this cost breakdown before?
(Mr Winbourne) I have seen this document which does not help us to any great degree and the reason it does not help us is that it does not give us the base cost of the Crossrail Bond Street Station. This is what quantity surveyors would call the extra over cost.
21327. When did you first see this document?
(Mr Winbourne) Shortly before the abortive hearing that took place a couple or three weeks ago.
21328. It was at a meeting that I was at as well.
(Mr Winbourne) Forgive me, we did get those figures at the meeting where you were present, I forgot that, at the consultation meeting and it then came in written form. I asked at the consultation meeting for the base costs because obviously for comparative purposes I needed to know what was their original station cost and how much more was this and we never got the figures. This is why I have put ‑ you will forgive the expression ‑ a guesstimate in, but I think their original Bond Street Station and, again, I do not want to harp on the point but I will refer back to the fact that it does not connect to Oxford Circus which is terribly important. I think their original Bond Street Station was probably approaching £0.5 billion in itself before these costs were added on. These costs are due to totally predictable extension of the Jubilee Line to the East causing pressures where Bond Street Station is now closed from time to time, the same as Oxford Circus, because of overcrowding. Again, and I have referred to this in evidence before but I will touch on it, if you have a huge new booking hall in a concrete box which is a public car park reinforced under Cavendish Square, you have got all the space you need, you can connect both stations by escalators and travelators and indeed to Crossrail platforms, if you want Crossrail. In other words, what I am saying is that the concrete box job needs doing anyway.
21329. Mr Winbourne, let us break down those statements. You say, I think I heard you correctly, that you would estimate the cost of the AP3 works at Bond Street to be £0.5 billion, is that correct?
(Mr Winbourne) Yes, what I say towards the end, it goes over the page in my balance sheet, we are at number three, you will see the important thing, I say "I put a guesstimate of £500 million because they gave us no figures" and I said that at the meeting that you were present at Mr Levaggi and they did not seek to argue and they are now putting a further £150 million and it could even get to several hundred.
21330. Let us focus on what they are saying, they say, "Purchase of land minerals and permanent rights including easements to be estimated at £50 million".
(Mr Winbourne) Exactly.
21331. What is your view of that, purchase of land minerals and easements at £50 million?
(Mr Winbourne) I am not clear whether that is for the one building or whether it includes two others at Hanbury Square because the problem is they are not giving us a breakdown.
21332. When you say the one building, can you identify it?
(Mr Winbourne) I meant the one at Oxford Street, but I can well believe that would be £50 million. I am a valuer and I can well believe that one alone could be that sort of money. It was number 354 to 358 shops with offices over them.
21333. Do you believe that further buildings would have to be acquired under this process?
(Mr Winbourne) Originally they were proposing to knock down one building on the south side of Oxford Street for the Bond Street Station. Then, they were going to dig up Hanover Square, because they are no longer going to dig up Hanover Square, thank goodness, they are acquiring I think it is 18 and 19 Hanover Square, I hope I have got the numbers right, two more buildings and this one. There are at least four buildings that they are knocking down. With respect, the proposal that I am suggesting is that there will be no buildings to knock down. There will be a public car park to be reallocated and recycled for good use and what is more, on the north side of Oxford Street the most impressive shopping patch in Europe from John Lewis to Marks & Spencer's, there will be property spin‑off which will probably mean that the station will cost nothing.
21334. You say that up to how many buildings may be acquired?
(Mr Winbourne) I am not sure if it is four or five, certainly four.
21335. On your more conservative estimate, if four buildings are acquired in that part of London, what could that do to this cost estimate of £50 million?
(Mr Winbourne) It must be £150 million, it might be £200 million, but conservatively £150 million.
21336. Station improvements, £102,856,000. What do you feel about that estimate?
(Mr Winbourne) I cannot argue with them except to try to grapple with minimum figures to try and get some idea of what the overall cost is because they will not give it to me. At the risk of emphasis, I make the point that where the station entrances will stay pretty well in the same places subject to additional ones, but if we put the platforms and station halls where I say, there will be a queue of property developers who will want to have basement level access to prime shopping in Oxford Street on the north side which is the best side. I have been dealing with West End shop owners for my whole career.
21337. Mr Winbourne, you say you cannot argue with those figures, what do you mean by that?
(Mr Winbourne) I simply accept them as they give them to me, even though they are not sufficient.
21338. Has any background to that particular theme been given to you?
(Mr Winbourne) I am simply saying that they throw some light on it because ---
21339. Can you tell me what light the one line in front of us gives to you, it is a station worth £102 million, what line does that show on that figure? How do you think that figure has been calculated?
(Mr Winbourne) I am sorry, they are their calculations. I am sorry, I am not trying to be difficult, I am not trying to assert that I know how they got to their figures, I am assuming they did a proper job.
21340. Let me give you some assistance, have you requested any information in relation to that?
(Mr Winbourne) Yes, when we attended with yourself and two other people from Charles Russell, I asked for the base figures in order to make a sensible comparison. Even with my guesstimates, at least I could make a sensible comparison. I have done my best with guesstimates in my planning balance sheet because of the lack of information that they have provided.
21341. For clarity, was any information given to you in relation to how that figure has been calculated?
(Mr Winbourne) I do not seek to fault these figures on their own, I want to make that clear. Somebody has worked them out, no doubt they are quite correct as far as they go, they are only a quarter of the matter, that is all I am saying.
21342. Have you any further points that you wish to make about Bond Street?
(Mr Winbourne) Simply that I have already made the point about the easier route from Paddington for the tunnels. The station entrances will be roughly in the same place. I imagine there will probably be added-in construction or a tunnel inserted from the existing Bond Street Station roughly under James Street to get to the platforms, I imagine there might be something, bearing in mind where I have suggested that the station should be located to get to the platforms of Crossrail. I think it would be a far better arrangement all round for Bond Street Station. We are not talking about moving any of the other lines, we are adding Crossrail to it. On this point of alignment, if I may say something, this is not meant to be controversial, I draw to your attention that two previous ministers to the secretary of state made a similar statement on 3 May 2001. They said that these stations were stipulated. At the time they did not mention Whitechapel, but they mentioned all the others in Central London and they said the details of construction of the stations and the potentials were yet to be sorted out. That is the difference between the two ministerial statements. It is was because of that ministerial statement, in both Houses, which was supported by the Mayor and the then head of the Strategic Rail Authority, they all made simultaneous statements on the same date, I hope I have got the date right, 3 May 2001, and they made it clear that the portholes and the station designs were yet to be sorted out. It was with that information in mind that ‑ and I have referred to this in previous evidence ‑ I attended with others when the then Residents Association of Mayfair met Cross London Rail on 12 December 2001, the minuted meeting which I have referred to previously, and I said then, "I do not agree with going to the West End", those were roughly my words, "...but if you must go there the way to do it is on the north side of Oxford Street and use Cavendish Square".
21343. For clarity to assist the Committee, how does that comment and your comments generally about Bond Street relate to AP3?
(Mr Winbourne) I think they relate directly to AP3 because if I hold up the Bond Street two document which was for general public consumption, the whole point about it is that you have got the station extending underground north of Oxford Street so that they are coming within a matter of a few yards of my proposals. If you can see the existing Bond Street Station at roughly ten o'clock in the picture and then you are extending northwards across Oxford Street and that is taking the station to within a matter of almost feet, but let us call it 50 yards, it is nothing. For the members of the public the station is not in any different position. If you go into an underground station you follow the signs, you are not aware of where they are taking you underground. I am simply saying the underground workings are in the wrong place, I want them to be in the right place. I leave that as far as clarity with the earlier ministerial statement, both in the Lords and Commons and co-ordinated in some way. I hope I am right in saying this, the secretary of state was making a similar statement when he made the direction which we are all concerned about except that it was shorter.
21344. Mr Winbourne, for clarity, you believe therefore your comments directly relate to the provision of the intermediate station at Bond Street?
(Mr Winbourne) Yes.
21345. You have said that you believe that costs set out by the Promoter of £157 million could be as high as £700 million?
(Mr Winbourne) Yes. We now have the picture in front of us, the big blue East to West bit of the picture, of course, all the way from Hanover Square to the existing Bond Street Station is what I am talking about, possibly up to £500 million and it is under major streets, it is near the embassies, lorries come time and time again and what is more, where they are going to do their condensation grouting from, goodness knows, and I am saying that we might even be able to do a cut-and-cover station.
21346. Mr Winbourne, we will move on. I think we have now dealt with Bond Street so we will move to number five. Tottenham Court Road Crossrail Station, what do you say about that under AP3?
(Mr Winbourne) It is a similar story. The Crossrail proposals have a major working and lorry holding area on the north side of Oxford Street where the Royal Mail post office station and everything was, the post office station is closed, of course. I understood the position to be at the consultation stage I attended with the Crossrail people in Mayfair, where there was a consultation arranged, that they were now taking the entirety of the Royal Mail property whereas previously they had only taken part of it. That in itself, as an opportunity, next door to it practically, as far away as, again, 50 yards is the disused Middlesex Hospital so there is another huge opportunity site in that vicinity. If one goes straight across Tottenham Court Road at that point you will see a Cheyne Street, some large rail shafts built in 1941 as air‑raid shelters in a hurry and so on, which are what are commonly called the deep tube shelters, on the Northern Line alignment, below the Northern Line basically. All of that is north of Oxford Street and if, again, we are talking about Tottenham Court Road Station, not talking about moving the station, you could go still go into Tottenham Court Road, the only difference is the escalators would be going to the north instead of the south from the point of view of the passengers. It has an advantage because Goodge Street Station is not very far, it is only about 500 metres away, so you would be able to take escalators to both of them probably. Under there is an area where there are a lot of the people in the rag trade, import stock houses and what not, and I believe that Mortimer Street-Goodge Street is suitable for going under. Again, there is a possibility of cut and cover. This needs looking into by engineers properly. If you do it by cut and cover you save an enormous amount of money, I have said that before.
21347. Mr Winbourne, this does not relate, does it, to the provision of the intermediate stations? It relates to the route?
(Mr Winbourne) No, what I am simply saying is this is an intermediate station. I am simply saying do it from a slightly different position. It is the same station, it will be a better station, in my submission, they are proposing to take property on the north side. I was privileged to hear other witnesses through other petitioners when we were here the last time and it was an important hearing, they were there from the recording studios mainly. Now the majority of the recording studios they are concentrating on there are some on the north side of Oxford Street, sure, but they are mainly on the south, exactly where Crossrail want to put the station, so the damage to that, and they referred to it as a cottage industry but they were, I think, being modest. It is a cottage industry is which is extremely important to this country and London and they are concerned because of vibration damage and so on and so forth, which I am perfectly certain will arise whatever Mr Gambol proposes.
21348. Mr Winbourne, item six, Tottenham Court Road to Farringdon via Crossrail AP3. Could you elaborate on the points there?
(Mr Winbourne) Yes, of course. I could have suggested a line directly - and I want to make this clear - to Tottenham Court Road Station platforms to Farringdon I, want to make that clear. Please, recall what I said, we went to a meeting and I said, "You can vary the northern interchange route" and this is what my suggestion does: I would not cut out St Pancras because of all the advantages of having St Pancras Station. You may say that adds on the cost because we have no St Pancras Station.
21349. Could I stop you there for a second. Before you go on, the comments you are now going to make, do they in any way affect the provision of intermediate stations at Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel, the Isle of Dogs or Custom House?
(Mr Winbourne) Yes, every single one of them is dealt with.
21350. Those stations will still be provided?
(Mr Winbourne) Exactly, at every point.
21351. The provision of those stations is not being challenged, is it?
(Mr Winbourne) No, what I am saying is that - and I hope hon Members will understand this because this is incredibly important - I can see at least one of you has got out drawing that I have done showing the variation of the route. If I may explain the purpose of that plan later and you can see a rather, possibly awkward-looking, S bend from Oxford Circus via St Pancras, but I have to explain to you that the cost of construction between St Pancras and Farringdon will be infinitely lower than what they are doing and, therefore, although this looks a lot more on the face of it, it probably may equate to their cost or it will not be much worse. You will get St Pancras in because they have got to have an emergency intervention point somewhere in Covent Garden because of the distances, I do not need any intervention points. I am simply saying you can get in St Pancras as well and the reason for this, if I can just explain the construction ----
21352. Mr Winbourne, with direct reference to AP3 I would like you to explain how you believe the costs of AP3 could be reduced in relation to this pathway.
(Mr Winbourne) Could I move over to Farringdon and perhaps come back the other way for the moment. At Farringdon there is a huge artificial cutting immediately north of the station which is about 400 metres long, just the right length for the station at Clerkenwell Green. It is setting up for oversite development, it will take about half a million square feet of some kind of development over the top, it will probably put in an extended Clerkenwell Green open space, you could do a wonderful city landscape job there with the right architects.
21353. Mr Winbourne, in your estimation, what would the cost‑benefit of that be and whether or not that benefit would be achieved under the current AP3 proposal?
(Mr Winbourne) The station would finish up at nil because the development over the top would pay for it and more, and what is more the formal station would be better because not only the cost, you see the way that I would approach the engineering there would be, if I can explain, not to put Crossrail under the tube but to rebuild the tube, the Metropolitan Line.
21354. CHAIRMAN: We are going over on old ground. We have dealt with the re‑routing towards St Pancras and I am finding it very difficult, and so are our members, to see how it relates directly to the provision of AP3. I fully realise you keep saying, "in relation to AP3" but that phrase in itself does not mean you are dealing solely with those provisions, rather what we have got here is old ground we have been over before.
21355. MR LEVAGGI: Sir, I am not sure that is correct. Could I respond to that?
21356. CHAIRMAN: I will let you go on a bit longer but just merely by adding the phrase "in relation to the AP3" is not sufficient.
21357. MR LEVAGGI: I entirely accept that. I think it is relevant to AP3 and the comments Mr Winbourne is making are relevant to AP3. The cost estimate given by the Promoter has not been, in my understanding, the subject of any petition for my client previously. We asked for a breakdown of the cost estimate, but that breakdown was not provided. The breakdown relates to the summary which was provided but was the identical summary which was given to us during the meeting with the Promoter of which we requested a detailed breakdown. It was not provided.
21358. CHAIRMAN: I accept your argument in relation to cost-benefit but, as I say, I think we need to spend less time on the re‑routing aspect of that.
21359. MR LEVAGGI: What the Petitioners are trying to establish is whether or not that cost estimate where we have no real detail, I can see that, is a fair estimate of the costs of the current proposal following AP3 and we have asked Mr Winbourne to give evidence in relation to what he feels about that cost estimate. What we are trying to do is on the limited evidence we have before us, on the limited information provided to us by the Promoter, we are trying to make the best fist we can of the situation.
21360. CHAIRMAN: I realise what you are trying to do, we are too. It is ground we have already been over. Proceed for the time being.
21361. MR LEVAGGI: Mr Winbourne, have you any further comments to make in relation to Tottenham Court Road and Farringdon?
(Mr Winbourne) Simply that there will be a cost increase of benefits by bringing St Pancras Station but the rest of the cost will be vastly reduced and I think that will balance out. The cost of Farringdon Station will come in at nil and possibly with a bonus because of the way it will be done. I cannot recall, sir, forgive me, but I do not think I have made this point in evidence before for various reasons. If I am repeating myself I do apologise, but the way it would be built would be this: you would drop down the Metropolitan/Circle Line - you get two for one - and then you have Crossrail and the Thames Link with cross‑platform interchange at Farringdon on top of it so you finish up with a win‑win situation from the engineering point of view. It is the less costly line that goes deeper and, of course, you have to close down to do it, there is no doubt about it, but you can do it all by cut and cover. That is the point.
21362. CHAIRMAN: Talking about win‑win, we have to go and vote. We will be back in ten or 15 minutes.
The Committee suspended for a division in the House from 3:15pm to 3:25pm.
21363. CHAIRMAN: We shall resume.
21364. MR LEVAGGI: Mr Winbourne, moving to paragraph nine, Liverpool Street, what do you say about Liverpool Street?
(Mr Winbourne) I am very much on AP3 here. The Select Committee itself was concerned about overcrowding at Liverpool Street and asked for improved arrangements, which AP3 is supposed to meet and of course does at a cost, I would say at a very considerable cost. What you are looking at is a station which already was likely to cost about £1 billion because of the serious engineering underneath Liverpool Street going to Moorgate and under Finsbury Circus gardens. Prime cost, if I can use that expression for the purpose of this explanation, therefore is about £1 billion before you start with the extras, which have been agreed with British Land. I do not disagree with them doing that if you are starting from the position of the £1 billion platforms. What I respectfully draw your attention to is this, that my proposed platforms are at the other end of Liverpool Street Station, they are not a million miles away. If I may refer you again to the meeting that we had on 13 December 2001, the very point of overcrowding was made by myself and Dr Ronald West, now deceased, an eminent rail engineer.
21365. CHAIRMAN: In relation to the Liverpool Street Station, I will just remind you, the Promoters came to the Committee and put forward a far cheaper scheme, it was the Committee that went back and gave a decision at an earlier point which considered an expansion and gave instructions to the Promoter of what that expansion should include, so if anyone is to blame for overspending in relation to Liverpool Street it is the Members of the Committee.
(Mr Winbourne) I am not questioning who did what, Sir, please, and I am not questioning the good faith of the Committee, not at all.
21366. MR LEVAGGI: Or of the Promoters.
(Mr Winbourne) Or the Promoters in the situation which you put them in on this issue. I am simply saying we arrive at a position where there is a very, very high cost indeed.
21367. CHAIRMAN: I think you have made that point and you have made it thoroughly and we are aware of that. What I need to know is can you tell us what you want us to do? We accept some of the arguments that you have been putting forward, the financial ones and in relation to the routing to Kings Cross, St Pancreas and we understand that, although we still do think that one of your arguments is realignment, for whatever reason, but, nevertheless, we have allowed you to go on with your argument. What we want to know now is what you want us to do in relation to AP3? Are you just going to give us a financial critique all the way through or are you going to tell us what you want?
21368. MR LEVAGGI: Sir, in my submission, the financial critique is essential. This is an incredibly expensive project, these projects always are. It is perhaps a truism to say that, nevertheless, it is an incredibly expensive project. I think on the Promoter's own case, it is something like £7.9 billion. The Petitioners' concern is that this is done in the most cost-effective way with the least disturbance as possible. The Petitioners ideally would like there to be a proper assessment, maybe by way of a further environmental assessment, of the true cost of this as compared with other possibilities.
21369. CHAIRMAN: Your case is that you want a new financial calculation on the whole remit of Crossrail, in particular up to AP3?
21370. MR LEVAGGI: Sir, it surprises me that this sort of assessment is not continuously done in relation to this sort of project. When smaller transactions take place, perhaps with private clients and that sort of thing, there is a continuous assessment of the cost of the transaction, there should be. If costs go up, and we say the AP3 has created further costs, and we say those costs are significant, surely there should be a reassessment. There should always be a reassessment.
21371. CHAIRMAN: Let me get this correct, what you are asking for then is a reappraisal, a re-evaluation of the cost of Crossrail in relation particularly to AP3?
21372. MR LEVAGGI: That is correct, yes. Whereas the Promoters might say - I will not put words in their mouth - some of this has been set in principle, but we would submit that even though it is set in principle, that should not stop the Committee considering whether or not this is really the most cost-effective approach, particularly when the cost on the Promoter's own case amounts to half billion pounds. Sir, it is perhaps a cheap point to make, but there have been previous projects like this, for example the Jubilee Line Extension which was originally costed at something like £2 billion and came in at something like £4 billion, and it is perhaps a cheap point to mention Euro Tunnel which was originally costed at £4.9 billion and came in at something like £8.8 and is still in debt, something to the tune of £6.6 million. These points might be cheap points and they are not points for you to make any ruling in relation to, all we are saying is we would urge the Committee to look at AP3 prudently and with prudence, we would say, this should result in a proper continuous assessment of whether these costs are necessary costs and whether or not there should be a complete reassessment of the whole thing.
21373. CHAIRMAN: That is clarity because we have got where you want us to go, I just find it difficult to understand why we are going station by station, area by area, building by building. We accept the argument, you have made us very well aware of it, is that the only area you want to visit or do you want to amend the Bill or do you want to set AP3 aside or what?
21374. MR LEVAGGI: Sir, in my submission, one has to go through this station by station. To some extent, the point has been made that you have been directed by the House to include the stations, they have been set, and let us say it is accepted that those stations are set in stone, fine, but even if the stations are set in stone, we want to be able to persuade on a station by station basis that a financial assessment should still be made as to whether or not this route through these stations could be done in a better more cost-effective way and that is the point we are trying to make.
21375. CHAIRMAN: The line of route has been set, we have been given that and we have been given the stations on that. If there is any variation of that, it is slight.
21376. MR LEVAGGI: Sir, my learned friend, David Elvin, wrote to you and very helpfully, in my view, set up the direction, so this is the basis of what has been set for you to consider. It is set out to you in the letter dated 23 February. You have seen this and you have responded to it but for ease of reference, let me read to you the direction: "In applying the practice of the House, the Select Committee treat the principle of the Bill as including.......the provision of intermediate stations at Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel, the Isle of Dogs and Custom House". Sir, this is the extent of the direction to you. We have quite carefully tried to keep to that direction with our submissions. I do not believe Mr Winbourne has suggested that any of those stations listed in that line should be changed or altered in position.
21377. MS LIEVEN: Is it helpful for me to interject?
21378. CHAIRMAN: Yes.
21379. MS LIEVEN: I was only going to say that in my submission it is self-evident that what is happening here is the Promotion of an alternative alignment. As Mr Elvin said in the letter which has just been referred to, that alternative alignment involves not just a completely new route all the way from Paddington past Liverpool Street, it is a different route, it is outside the limits of deviation and it is a fundamentally different route because it is running north of Oxford Street. It also involves what is a new station at Wigmore Street, and a new station at Tottenham Court Road because although it still would have the name Tottenham Court Road, it is in a completely different location way to the north, so it is obvious it is an alternative alignment and it is obvious that it goes to the principle of the Bill. Further, Sir, there is the minor point which I did point out the last time, but at the risk of being boring I will point it out again, none of this is raised in the Petition and none of it involves a direct effect upon the residents of Mayfair. In my submission, the Committee would be perfectly justified in simply saying that they have heard most of this material before, they believe it goes to the principle of the Bill and they are not going to hear it anymore.
21380. CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much indeed. Could we just have that map back up? I am trying to be helpful, but Mr Levaggi, could you explain to me why that is not a different route?
21381. MR LEVAGGI: Sir, you are looking at the rather obvious large bulge at the top, which makes it look as if it is a different route, but one has to address where the stations are.
21382. CHAIRMAN: It is a different place on the map because it comes from a different position. It is a different route.
21383. MR LEVAGGI: Sir, in my submission, once again, the stations have perhaps been set, but how you get between station and station has not been set. The location of the stations, we say, is ---
21384. CHAIRMAN: I understand how you trying to hang in there, at the moment, but it does not relate to AP3 and it was not included in the Petition.
21385. MR LEVAGGI: Sir, it was included in the Petition because the concern we raise in paragraphs 8, 9 and 10 is one on costs. Paragraphs 8, 9 and 10 of the Petition are drafted in a general way, that is accepted, but it relates to costs. We say, on the Promoter's own case, this is half a billion pounds.
21386. CHAIRMAN: I fully understand that. Can I just say I have already accepted that you have made a legal argument to us on the matter of costs, but it was not included in your Petition and AP3, and the matters are not related to matters connected with Mayfair. Will you explain to me how that is in relation to AP3?
21387. MR LEVAGGI: Sir, it does relate to the Petitioners. I would say the issue of costs relates to any inhabitant of London - and, arguably, the country. So it is from that perspective ----
21388. CHAIRMAN: I accept you have made a case in respect of that. What I am saying is this is a new route. It is a different alignment entirely. It is very clear from your own mouth that it is a different route. The station is a different station and it does not apply to the matters which we are dealing with in this hearing, other than the broad brush approach you put down in relation to the cross-examination (?). What I am perfectly willing to do is to stick with that argument, which you can go on making, but I really do not want to revisit - we have already revisited it in previous hearings - the whole of this realignment. We are dealing now only with matters absolutely applicable to AP3, and I am not really willing to go back to this. Members have made it clear to me in the short recess we have had that they do not want to revisit it either. If you want to keep on on financial costings you are perfectly able to do so, but as I say, we have heard the arguments.
21389. MR LEVAGGI: Can I make one very short final submission? It is almost impossible to discuss the issue of costs unless one does it in a comparative way. In relation to any valuation issue before any court one has to look at comparative evidence. It is an essential point of any valuation process. I am buying a property and a survey comes back and throws something else up which adds to the cost of my purchase. I am bound to look at comparative properties to see whether or not it is still a good idea for me to complete this transaction. All we are saying, sir, in relation to the costings of AP3, the current alignment, the current Bill, is that to have any proper understanding of whether or not this is a good idea, from the point of view of the public purse, etc, to some extent one does have to consider comparatives.
21390. CHAIRMAN: I am grateful for that. As I say, we have heard your argument on the financial aspects of it and take note of that. Are you going to proceed any farther?
21391. MR LEVAGGI: Sir, we are almost there, actually. We were just finishing off paragraph 9, which is Liverpool Street.
(Mr Winbourne) Yes. Can I say, before you go ahead, if the Chairman will allow, it is a different route - inserting your words, sir, not accepting my view - it looks longer at that point, but if you look at the pink on my plan they are routing - and there is a long working tunnel as well which is not shown on theirs, which goes out to Allen Gardens ending in the East End - if you take the entirety of their route, it is, give or take, nearly twice as long in colouring terms overall; it is nearly twice the tunnel across London that I am suggesting. I am suggesting half. What is more, probably cut and cover for a lot of it. Now, that is an enormous difference in savings terms. Since you accepted the savings point I did want to make that point. That is the purpose of this plan; it shows existing railway stock in terms of track; it shows a recycling of a bit of the Docklands Railway, which has taken heavy rail tracks since 1967 and, for peanuts, can be put back to heavy rail - that is the point - and that is what the light blue on the plan shows, and I do not think the Committee has had put before it a proper plan of London railways before, sir.
21392. CHAIRMAN: Can I just remind you that in relation to this route we have had evidence on that and I think you are aware of that and you have referred to Mr Schabas's evidence earlier on. Indeed, Mr Schabas himself referred to some aspects, so we have heard this in much earlier sessions and we have dealt with it.
21393. MR LEVAGGI: Perhaps, in conclusion, sir, in relation to paragraphs11 to 15, do you have any particular points you would like to make, Mr Winbourne?
(Mr Winbourne) Keeping it as short as possible, Stratford station, no change. As far as I am concerned, a perfectly good station - no arguments - except that I have heard arguments and I have been present when Shenfield people said you did not need to go to Shenfield. I am inclined to agree with them - I would go to Barking. These are locations which Crossrail has considered in the past and chopped and changed. They keep moving the goalposts in these outer routes. The difference is I would go to Stanstead, and that is why I am showing the route in green via Leabridge out to Stanstead. That is the only reason for it. It is accessible from Stratford. Number 12: that is the only place where I have trouble with the intermediate station point, and I plead guilty to that, sir, because I would branch off to Whitechapel as distinct from the word strictly intermediate. I am not trying to suggest it is. The reason is because of the huge saving of tunnelling disruption and everything else in the East End which was thrown out on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link and is still in on Crossrail. That is number 12. I do say to go to Whitechapel simply go underneath the East London Line. If you want to go on from there you can. On the Whitechapel/Crossrail station, I think it was Mr Schabas who said to me it was about £400 million. I pointed out that the station under Vallance Road - or the platforms under Vallance Road, because I am doing my own case an injustice, the station entrance is all staying in the same place - the platforms under Vallance Road would not be a problem, and what is more there are artefacts in St Mary's. Every rail buff knows of them, a closed down station in 1939; there is a curve that goes south-east and you could, in fact, improve on Whitechapel station by doing that. Number 14, Whitechapel to Canary Wharf. This is really the kingpin on the cost. It is unnecessary miles and miles of expensive and disruptive tunnelling under the East End, which was rejected for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, and that is why the route was moved to go under the North London railway to get to St Pancreas. The previous Select Committee - I think it was actually changed before they got in front of the Select Committee procedure because they could see trouble coming, but it was thrown out because of an outcry in the East End. We have here virtually a recycling of that cast route at an enormous cost, which can be dealt with much more simply by using the assets which the railway industry has and which the Mayor of London and DLR have by simply recycling the heavy rail route to Poplar/Canary Wharf which could have been used for the Docklands Light Railway since 1967. If you revert back to heavy rail or share it with the Tube - you can have joint working, there are various ways in which it can be done - you would have more than one line to Canary Wharf and it would cost tuppence ha'penny compared to what they are proposing to spend. The track bed is there, it is in use for the DLR, and that is what the Victorians would have done in a trice, if they had been given the choice. They chopped and changed their railways all the time; they were not frightened of doing so. Last, but by no means least, the only point I would make is there has been some controversy in the papers and so on about the Woolwich station. I believe that it has been caused by the taking of the position of the Woolwich station for the Docklands Light Railway. I think that is what has caused the extra cost. I am not absolutely sure of this but I do refer back to what I have said before in evidence, it is in that meeting of December 2001: if you put four tracks under the river at Woolwich, not two, the same route as theirs - there is no argument about routing here - you have got a proper railway right across the east side of London. You can have passengers, freight, fast and slow. That is the end of the submission, sir.
21394. MS LIEVEN: I am certainly not going to cross-examine, sir, no. Nor is Mr Mould, in case you were wondering!
21395. CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Mr Winbourne.
(Mr Winbourne) They did not cross-examine me for either point.
21396. CHAIRMAN: It is their prerogative.
21397. MS LIEVEN: Sir, I was not intending to call Mr Berryman, unless you feel the need, for this reason: as I have already submitted, this case goes to the alternative alignment, which is, in my submission, contrary to the principle of the Bill. The issues raised are about the cost estimate. The point that Mr Levaggi did not seem to understand is that the cost estimate is a public document; it is in the public domain, produced by the Secretary of State to Parliament, and we find it impossible to see how that can properly form the ground for a Petition because, in effect, what is being said is that any council taxpayer in London can petition against the Bill on the grounds that they might have to pay the costs of Crossrail, or some proportion of it. Sir, it is well-established that that type of interest does not give rise to a Petition; a Petitioner has to be directly affected by a proposal. We are not suggesting the Residents' Association of Mayfair are not directly affected but that there has not been a single word today about the direct impact on them; it has all been about the alternative alignment. So, in my submission, the Committee just does not have to worry about the alternative alignment, and the cost of it, at all.
21398. So far as the detailed points on each station are concerned, on every single station that is raised in this document of Mr Winbourne's the Committee has heard evidence. It has heard our justification for why we are proposing the stations where they are. Now, sir, I could call Mr Berryman either just to deal with the Wigmore Street alignment or to go through each station and justify each station again, but I simply cannot see that that is going to assist the Committee in its deliberations.
21399. CHAIRMAN: We have already had that.
21400. MS LIEVEN: You have already had that and you have already heard why an alignment that goes north of Oxford Street has all sorts of problems, both in terms of cost of acquisition, which Mr Berryman said before was likely to be comparable, and in terms of the fact that one would then be looking at a whole series of different worksites which are likely themselves to be highly controversial - Cavendish Square behind John Lewis in Oxford Street is perhaps the obvious one, and Connaught Square is not likely to be desperately popular as a worksite - a whole series of worksite issues. However, most importantly, is the point that Mr Berryman made before, which is that the stations are in the wrong place for the passenger flow. Passengers want to be in Oxford Street, and primarily to the south of Oxford Street; running along Wigmore Street means much longer interchange times and much less alignment in transport terms. We have dealt with all that before, sir; I cannot see the Committee is going to be helped (Day 24, just for the note) by that.
21401. There is one final point I would like to make. Again, Mr Berryman could give evidence on this if necessary but, in my submission, it is not appropriate, and that is the suggestion that we have got a very expensive project and we simply sit back and do not consider the cost of it. That is completely wrong. The estimate of expense is a public document produced by the Secretary of State to the House. However, all the time, behind the scenes, we are working very, very hard on reducing costs. The Committee will be conscious of that through the press attention to Crossrail and the various announcements that have been made recently. We are constantly reappraising costs and seeing how we can cut them down. I would not want the Committee for one instant to think that we just take however many billion it is and leave it there, but it is not a matter that the Committee needs to engage in. It does not go to the issues that are properly raised in Petitions. Also, we are obviously not going to produce detailed cost breakdowns of work because that is commercially confidential information and it is likely to be very disadvantageous to us in a contracting process and a tendering process if we revealed all our cost estimates in the public domain. Sir, I only touch on that because I do not want the committee to think that we are, as a project, or a Promoter, insensitive to the issue of cost. Nothing could be further from the case.
21402. So, sir, I am intending to leave it there, unless the Committee feels the need to hear from Mr Berryman on any points.
21403. CHAIRMAN: I do not think there is any necessity for that, but I will say that Mr Levaggi said he had to make a fist of his case, and he was actually arguing financial data, and he has every right to Petition ----
21404. MS LIEVEN: Absolutely, sir.
21405. MR LEVAGGI: First, dealing with the issue as to whether or not the Petitioners have the right to raise the issues in their Petition, my learned friend makes the point well that the Petitioners have standing to make this Petition because they are residents in the affected area. So if they have standing they have the right to petition in relation to any relevant issues, and surely the issue of costs is a relevant issue. It is, surely, of interest to them how much this is going to cost. It might not be the case, if somebody in Manchester wanted to petition on the basis of the cost of this project; that that person might have the requisite standing, but my clients do, and I think Ms Lieven has accepted that, in reality. Much of this does come down to costs. It comes down to costs and it comes down to a proper consideration of alternative alignments, not a continuous assessment of what they regard as a done deal, but a proper consideration by way of comparable evidence of the cost of alternatives. That must be the case in relation to any transaction in the country, whether it is a business transaction or whether it is a private transaction. Why should it not be the case in relation to a project that will cost £7.9 billion? It must be the case. That £7.9 billion might be wrong. It is a very, very expensive project.
21406. Sir, those are my submissions and they are the submissions of the Petitioners on the Residents' Society of Mayfair and St James. Finally, we have made points other than on costs. Without recalling Mr Winbourne to go over those points again, there were points made about disturbance and whether or not the positioning of escalators and that sort of thing could be improved. I heard those points; those points will be on the transcript. They are my submissions.
21407. CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much, Mr Levaggi.
21408. MR ELVIN: Sir, I have circulated a set of written closing submissions, for a number of reasons: one, it picks up a number of common themes and, two, it responds to a number of common points that have been raised by the Petitioners over the last 14 months. Whilst we are not absolutely at the end of the Committee process we are largely at the end of the Committee process, subject to a few items of business which will be dealt with after Easter.
21409. Sir, the purpose of these submissions, therefore, following the completion of the hearings into the Petitions against the Crossrail Bill and the three sets of Additional Provisions, is to cover general points and themes which have occurred in respect of a number of the Petitions present, although for course, as I have just said, it is not the conclusion of the Committee hearing. It is not the intention to repeat submissions and evidence made on the specifics of individual Petitions which have been dealt with at the time of the hearing of each of those individual Petitions. The Committee, of course, is referred back to those submissions and to the general opening which I made, good heavens, back on 17 January last year. How time flies.
21410. During the course of the Bill three sets of Additional Provisions have been deposited with the Private Bill Office, so far, together with Environmental Statements for the APs and SESs as well, and fall to be considered in accordance with the instructions of the House. I just remind you: AP1 was deposited on 18 January 2007; AP2 9 May 2006 and AP3 7 November 2006. The amendments introduced by the APs were the subject of submissions which I made on 18 January of this year, Day 66, at the paragraph numbers set out in the note. Since the issue of a station at Woolwich remains to be dealt with following last week's statement by the Secretary of State, it is not proposed to make a formal presentation of the filled Bill now but to leave that until the final conclusion of the Committee hearings.
21411. Sir, I do not know whether you want to give this document a document number.
21412. CHAIRMAN: Are you going to read it entirely or not?
21413. MR ELVIN: No.
21414. CHAIRMAN: A247.
21415. MR ELVIN: Sir, if I can ask for your guidance on this: it is divided into two parts, having just introduced it. There are some detailed notes at the end on technical matters such as Environmental Impact Assessments and environmental information in the Aarphus Directive, which I was not proposing to read out but to simply lay as submissions in documentary form. I am going to summarise them for the moment, but it did seem to me it would be easier for the Committee if I simply took you through these submissions as briefly as possible, because the written document is available and we will put it on the website so it will be available for anyone else to see, rather than simply wearying you with too long a recitation.
21416. CHAIRMAN: That is helpful.
21417. MR ELVIN: So, sir, running as quickly as I can then through the main headings, the first one is "Crossrail: the need for it and its benefits". The position is set out in the main Environmental Statement Chapter 4. Taking you back 14 months, to the first day, Crossrail is a major new cross-London rail link project to serve London and the south east of England. It will support and maintain the status of London as a World City by providing a world-class transport system. It will be a significant and essential addition to London's transport infrastructure and the south east of England and will deliver a number of important benefits: firstly, a fast, efficient and convenient rail access to the West End and the City by linking the existing routes from Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east with Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west.
21418. Secondly, improved services for rail users through the relief of overcrowding, faster journeys and the provision of a range of new direct journey opportunities. Wider social and economic benefits not only for London, including the regeneration of areas such as Docklands and Thames Gateway, and also for the south east of the UK as a whole. The key objectives are, therefore: to support the development of London as a World City and its role as a financial centre of Europe and the United Kingdom; secondly, to support the economic growth of London and its regeneration areas by tackling congestion and the lack of capacity on the existing rail network, and, thirdly, to improve rail access into and within London.
21419. It will achieve these objectives by addressing problems of inadequate capacity on the national rail and London Underground networks, by improving accessibility to regeneration areas, and by providing transport capacity for the growth expected for London. This is not at the expense of regional services, such as to the South West and to Wales. Crossrail services will use only the slow lines, as you may recall, during normal operation, not the fast lines into Paddington and to Liverpool Station that regional services use.
21420. These objectives have been forcibly underlined by some of those petitioning - for example, the cases made by the Corporation of London and Canary Wharf with regards to the needs of the business community and by the London Borough of Greenwich with regard to regeneration needs, particularly in the Woolwich area.
21421. I turn then to Environmental Minimum Requirements. I just remind the Committee, of course, that I gave an undertaking in this respect on Day 1, in paragraph 112 of the transcript. The EMRs set out controls for the design and construction of Crossrail relating to environmental and planning issues, and they include the Construction Code, the Planning and Heritage Memorandum and the Environmental Memorandum. The first draft of the EMRs was published in September 2005 and circulated to local authorities affected by Crossrail and other bodies. A revised version, following discussion, was published in November 2006 and it remains the subject of ongoing discussions and will be finalised through the final stage of the Bill's progress through Parliament.
21422. The Secretary of State will contractually require the nominated undertaker to comply with the controls set out in the EMR and take such opportunities as may be reasonably practicable to reduce significant adverse impacts. These contractual requirements, with the undertakings and assurances given by the Secretary of State, will ensure that impacts of the exercise of the Bill powers which have been assessed in the Crossrail Environmental Statement will not be exceeded so as to depart from the various assumptions in the Environmental Statements, unless that situation results from a change in circumstances which was not likely at the time of the Environmental Statement, or would not be likely to have significant environmental effects (meaning significant adverse effects where the change is a modification to the current project) or where they would be subject to their own consent process and to further environmental assessment if required.
21423. Turning then to the third point which is Environmental Impact Assessments about which you have heard a number of submissions from time to time and, as I have said, there are detailed submissions set out in writing in the annex. Two issues have arisen before the Committee frequently in the context of environmental assessment and the Petitioners have frequently made claims concerning either, first, the inadequacy generally of the environmental assessment process for the Bill and the Environmental Statements produced for Crossrail and, secondly, the failure to consider alternatives. You have heard an example of that both today and last week in the context of Mayfair and Spitalfields. It has been said by a number of Petitioners that Crossrail simply has not considered the alternatives. A detailed note on these topics is set out in the annex, as I have said, and they repeat to a large extent what was set out in the letter I wrote to you, sir, on 1 March this year in response to the Woodseer and Hanbury Residents Association and Spitalfields Small Business Association. What is in the annex you will have seen to some extent already, but the points, of course, are of wider application. Putting the matter in summary form, our response is this: environmental assessment is intended to assist not hinder the process of decision-making, in this case, of course, decision-making by Parliament. Secondly, the adequacy of the Environmental Statement is a matter for the reasonable judgment of Parliament. The courts have frequently pointed out that merely because a party making representations about development proposals does not agree with the approach or the contents of an Environmental Statement does not mean that document ceases to be a proper Environmental Statement or one that is not fit for its purpose. In fact, part of the process of the environmental assessments involves consulting the public on the Environmental Statement to enable those who have views on the project, as analysed in the statement, to express their own views, so it does not follow that because Petitioners can identify parts of the Environmental Statement which they disagree with that it is not a valid Environmental Statement. Thirdly, what has been produced in the Environmental Statement meets the legal requirements of providing an outline of the main alternatives studied by the developer and an indication of the main reasons for this choice taking into account the environmental effects. There is no requirement, contrary to the views expressed by some, to set out full information on alternatives only to present an outline of the main alternatives to the project as a whole. The requirements of the Directive, therefore, have been met. The main alternative study was summarised in chapter six of the main Environmental Statement deposited in February 2005. Specific issues of alternatives have also been addressed, for example the alternative depot proposals as a result of AP3 and the alternative alignments in the Spitalfields area, which I addressed in my letter to you, sir, on 1 March. By the appropriate touchstone of reasonableness, the environmental assessment process adopted for the Bill complies with the Environmental Assessments Directive and is based upon a through Environmental Statement which has been updated and amended as the Bill has proceeded. The fact that, over documentation concerning this huge product there may be some flaws, or some might disagree with elements of it, it does not render it or the process as a whole flawed or non‑compliant with the Directive. The Committee can be satisfied, we say, that the project should proceed taking account of the information provided in the Environmental Statements together with that obtained from the public through the consultation process on the Environmental Statements which together form the part of information to be taken into account by Parliament. The Committee is entitled to conclude, we say, and report to the House of Commons that the Environmental Impact Assessment process has been conducted in a suitable and reasonable manner and has met the relevant requirement of the Directive under European law. That is all dealt with in more detail in the annex but those are the headline points.
21424. I turn now to the fourth heading, Aarhus and the Public Participation Directive. The Aarhus Convention on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters and the Public Participation Directive produced by the European Union which resulted from it seeks to establish greater dissemination of information and public participation in environmental decision‑making. A detailed note on the topic is also set out in the annex to these submissions. The Public Participation Directive only has implications for the Bill process to the extent that it modifies the Environmental Assessment Directive from 25 June 2005 to improve the requirements for dissemination of information, publicity and public participation. Publicity requirements of the Directive are amended and include the duty now to make available certain information whether by public notices or other appropriate means, such as electronic media, where available. This has been done, including the use of electronic media, as the Committee is well aware. Although the Promoter considers that the Directive does not apply to the Bill process simply because the Bill process started some months before the Directive came into force that does not need to trouble the Committee since the process that the Bill has followed has met the requirements in any event, and I simply give you again the headline points .
21425. Sir, I set out in my opening in paragraphs 32 to 40 an overview of the consultation process on the project as a whole. The Committee will recall those extensive pre-Bill consultations on the proposals for the public awareness campaign in 2003 and the establishment of information centres, the second awareness campaign in 2004 followed by a second round of public information centres. There were 103 days of information centres at 55 locations across the Crossrail route attracting over 15,000 visitors. The consultation responses were evaluated and considered in the design of the project and mitigation measures associated with it. In 2005, before the Bill was deposited, an information round was implemented in information centres explaining the proposals for which powers are now sought in the Bill and an aggregated consultation report in September 2005 is available which summarises the consultation process. Secondly, additional notice of the likely proposals was given in the CLRL business case in July 2003 and in the Montague Report in July 2004. The Bill and the Environmental Statement give ample information on the proposals together with other information available from CLRL and DfT, both in electronic and paper format. Sir, you will note behind the Environmental Statement there sit a number of very detailed technical reports which have been brought out from time to time. They are all available on the Crossrail website along with the Environmental Statement.
21426. Fourthly, subsequent information, of course, through the APs and SESs and by other means have been made widely available as APs have come forward and as the committee process has continued.
21427. Fifthly, the right to petition Parliament in respect of which we said at the outset we would not generally take locus points has allowed those wishing to raise issues with regard to the Bill to raise them before this Committee, to call evidence and to question witnesses for the Promoter, and the Committee has been able to request amendments and other steps to be taken via undertakings and assurances. Deliberations and decisions made by Parliament with regard to Crossrail are made publicly available through a number of media, including Hansard, the internet and the Committee's own website. Committee proceedings are published on the website and can be listened to via the weblink or for a period of months as part of the internet archive of recordings. There is ample opportunity to hear and understand what is happening. The provision of information on the Bill has been extensive and widespread, in addition to depositing documents in public libraries and with local authorities and by responding to individual requests for additional information generally under the Freedom of Information Act provisions significant amounts of information have been made available electronically via the internet by, for example, both the CLRL and DfT website.
21428. Therefore, in conclusion on this, there is no proper basis for saying the procedure related to bringing forward, deliberating on and justifying the Bill proposals has not accorded with the substance of the Convention or the requirements of the Public Participation Directive or access to the environmental decision-making. We say the process has been more than ample to cater for those requirements.
21429. We turn then to another issue which we raised on a number of occasions, human rights. The issues which have arisen in committee hearings largely concern three particular convention provisions, Article 8, the right to respect for the home, private and family life; Article 1 of the First Protocol, the right to the undisturbed enjoyment of possessions which include, of course, property rights to be acquired under the Bill; and Article 6, the right to a fair trial. As far as Article 8 and Article 1 of the First Protocol are concerned and any other substantive rights, you will recall the Minister has certified compliance with the Human Rights Act in the Bill and in any event those rights are not absolute and can be displaced if, for legitimate reasons, the homes or the properties and activities of those affected are to be disturbed in the public interest. In the language of Strasbourg, sir, the interference must be necessary in a democratic society, in other words proportionate or strike a fair balance between the private rights being affected and the public interest which justifies the interference. What it all means simply is the public interest in proceeding with Crossrail outweighs the impact on individual lives and properties having regard to the powers sought and the effects which they are likely to have. It is plain that the public interest in proceeding with Crossrail is, we say, sufficiently important to outweigh the individual rights of those likely to be affected by the Bill proposals and that the petitioning and the select committee process here allows the claims of Petitioners to be considered in detail by your Committee, sir. In a number of cases your Committee has required the balance between the project and the parties concerned to be adjusted, thus adjusting the balance of proportionality, as it has seemed appropriate to your Committee in the light of evidence and representations you have received. There is, therefore, built into the hybrid bill process a means of adjusting proportionality in individual cases where your Committee, sir, has thought it necessary. So far as Article 6, that is concerned with the fair trial rights of persons, where there is a determination of civil rights and obligations. Article 6, in our view, sir, does not apply to hybrid bills or to any other parliamentary procedures other than the judicial functions exercised by the House of Lords. This is because section six of the Human Rights Act, which subjects public authorities, including the courts, to a general duty not to act incompatibly with convention rights, specifically does not apply to either House of Parliament or a person exercising functions in connection to proceedings in Parliament. Sir, the proceedings in Parliament are specifically excluded from the duties under section six of the Human Rights Act. Apart from section six of the Human Rights Act Article 6 would not have applied here in any event to your committee procedures since you are not concerned with the content of the law with Article 6, only its procedural protection. Secondly, there must be a genuine dispute over a civil right or an obligation which can be said fairly to be recognised under UK law and the Bill process and you, in particular, sir, are not determining a dispute over the civil rights which exist under the law but what the Bill should be if the Bill is passed by Parliament. In any event the procedure adopted for the committees proceedings embodies a fair procedure, it allows Petitioners a reasonable opportunity to present their cases, call evidence and cross‑examine the witnesses called for the Promoter. The case the Petitioners have to meet is known to them, it is set out in the various Bill documents and supporting documents and in the petition response documents which have been sent out explaining the Promoter's response to individual petitions in the vast majority of cases. Sir, I would observe that the Committee has been very fair, indeed, giving Petitioners considerable leeway to present the cases they have wanted to present to the Committee and the Committee has allowed them to make those cases even though on occasions issues as to relevance and materiality to the Bill proposals have occurred. The Committee has not been ready to cut people off and has been extremely fair, in our submission. Although some have complained at being cut short by the Committee from time to time even if Article 6 applied to the passage of a hybrid bill, which it does not, Article 6 does not require an oral hearing and you can satisfy it by consideration of documents including petitions, it does not permit those being heard to be repetitious or irrelevant in their presentation to you and it does not restrict the body conducting the hearing, in the case of these proceedings this Committee, from exercising reasonable control over its procedures, for example where it determines that matters run contrary to the principle of the Bill or do not arise out of an additional provision. That is all I say, sir, about human rights.
21430. Sir, I then turn to a couple topics which I will run through briefly. Noise, sir, you will be aware of the Promoter's schemes for control of noise during construction and operation have been fully set out in IPD 9 and D 10 and there is a draft IP in relation to fixed sources that was produced during the period submitted on behalf of the London Borough of Havering. They are of course being updated to reflect undertakings and assurances given during the committee process and further negotiations which have occurred since they were initially published. Mr Thornley‑Taylor has spoken to those documents on a number of occasions and he is, of course, pre‑eminent in the field and we would suggest respectfully, sir, that his views should be given considerable weight when the Committee is considering its recommendations in its report.
21431. In relation to groundborne noise, the Promoter has put in place design criteria which will ensure that during the construction and operation of the railway there will be no unacceptable impact on the occupiers of property above the railway and the Committee will recall, in particular, the criterion adopted for the protection of residential properties 40 dbA LA max is appropriate. There is no justification for the application of a lower criterion than this, as some have suggested, and in the context of a project that is attempting to drive costs down so as to be affordable, there is no justification, we say, for the provision of floating slab track across the whole of the central section. Floating slab track will be used, as the Committee is be aware, but only where necessary. Where there has been a need to identify additional mitigation due to the particularly sensitive nature of a Petitioner's property to groundborne noise, we have offered undertakings to provide that additional, mitigation, so that no unacceptable impact is likely. I give you the recent example of the Barbican Hall, an earlier example of the British Board of Film Censors and more recently the Grand Central Sound Studios petitions. An appropriate undertaking regarding the regime of maintenance to be applied to the track and wheels based on the undertaking sought by Camden have been incorporated in the latest drafts of the relevant IPs. In relation to the airborne noise and its control during construction, the consent procedure under section 61 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 will apply and that will requires a construction contractor to use best practical means to control noise arising from his operations. Thus, the Committee rest assured that an appropriate level of mitigation will be provided and controlled by the local authority. Where, notwithstanding the use of best practical means, the construction noise impacts are forecast to exceed the criteria set out in IPD 9, residential occupiers will be offered noise insulation for their properties or temporary re-housing as appropriate. The criteria have not been subject to challenge in any petition that has been heard by the Committee, which is of itself an indication that the criteria are appropriate.
21432. So far as fixed source noise is concerned, this was raised, as you will recall, by the London Borough of Havering which had concerns regarding the appropriate criteria to apply and you will have evidence on that given at the time. Needless to say, we rely on our submission made at that time in response to Havering's petition. There is no scientific basis for adopting the criteria which Havering has proposed. In short, sir, we contend the mechanisms put in place in the Bill and undertakings provided will secure that noise from the construction operation of the railway is appropriately controlled.
21433. Sir, the next topic, which has arisen frequently, is settlement. Sir, we have explained our positions clearly in a number of circumstances, first, Professor Robert Mair's evidence to the Committee on Day eight paragraphs 2368 to 2425 in IPD 12 ground settlement and the Environmental Statement volume six, appended to BI section ten and B 2 and in the various technical reports. Sir, I am going to summarise this section because most of this has not been the subject of major dispute. A three‑stage approach to settlement has been adopted based on long experience of major infrastructure, including CTRL and the DLR. It is set out in the IP. It is very conservative in its assumption so it is always predicting a worst case scenario and we rely upon good practice and experience to be the main means of preventing settlement effects from tunneling. We have in place a series of protections should issues arise and there will, of course, be careful monitoring. Subject to certain conditions, the Secretary of State will require the nominated undertaker to reimburse property owners for the reasonable cost they might incur in remedying material or physical damage if ground settlement is caused by the Crossrail works, and you will be aware that a settlement deed is being produced that gives effects to the assurances set out in the IP. I should remind the Committee that deed is to be amended and it will be the amended deed which is finally completed which will be offered to the occupiers who fall within it, but, as I reminded the Committee and some of the Petitioners I think on Day 68, you do not have to sign up to the settlement deed to benefit from the protection set out in the IP, they are available in any event.
21434. I add a note because of what has been said on some occasions. Contrary to the views that some have expressed, we do not suggest that it would be right or fair for the Promoter to offer a complete indemnity as to any damage occurring during the works without it being shown the damage that resulted from the works themselves. It is not the role of the public purse to act as insurer of the damage, however caused, and it is only reasonable that it should only compensate, as it will do, if it is shown that damage has been caused by the Crossrail works themselves but, sir, as you will be aware, in the most instances in which settlement has arisen it has concerned the provision of information. You will recall the two weeks dealing with the Spitalfields objectors last summer and the concern over information has been dealt with by the giving of undertakings for the provision of further information.
21435. We turn then to the question of compensation. With few exceptions, identified by the Committee in its interim decisions, the general approach of the Promoter is to ensure a level playing field with other public works projects and to apply the National Compensation Code as set in IP C2 and as explained on a number of occasions in submissions, for example day 14, paragraph 4041-4050 and day 74, 19979-19985.
21436. Mitigation, as you will be aware, Sir, has been offered in many cases which obviate the need for further concern. In any event, the law which applies to development projects in this country is based on the case which I have referred the Committee to on a number of occasions, Andreae v Selfridge, which was supported by the House of Lords in the Wildtree Hotel case. What this recognises is there has to be give and take in modern society. Crossrail is a project overwhelmingly in the public interest, running through one of the busiest cities in the world where development and building works are a constant fact of life. What the court said in Andreae v Selfridge I have quoted before and it is worth repeating: "When one is dealing with temporary operations such as demolition and rebuilding, everyone has to put up with a certain amount of discomfort because operations of that kind cannot be carried out at all without a certain amount of noise and a certain amount of dust, therefore the rule with regard to interference must be read subject to this qualification and if they are reasonably carried on and all proper and reasonable steps are taken to ensure no undue inconvenience is caused to the neighbour whether by noise, dust or other means, the neighbours must put up with it".
21437. Apart from the wholly exceptional case of Smithfield, we maintain that those seeking special treatment are going against the will of Parliament which has been to apply the current code on a consistent basis for years, that they are seeking an advantage not provided to most affected by such projects, and in some cases they are effectively seeking that Crossrail should under-ride losses which were avoidable, for example those who may have purchased properties in the knowledge that they were within the safeguarding area for the project or simply seeking Crossrail to provide them with an insurance policy. This has not been the general policy of Parliament nor is there any good reasons, we say, why those claiming it should be singled out for special treatment from the majority of the population, particularly given the benefits Crossrail will deliver to the population, both business and the residential communities.
21438. Petitioners' costs: A number of Petitioners have requested the Committee that the Promoter should pay their costs of petitioning Parliament, and we say, Sir, the position is quite straightforward, there is no power to award costs. Section 1 of the Parliamentary Costs Act 1865 - I am not sure whether this is deliberate - which is replaced as of 1 April this year by Section 10 of the Parliamentary Costs Act 2006, applies only to private bills, as does the new provision, not to hybrid bills, which are public bills introduced to Government by ministers rather than by private bill procedure. The Crossrail bill was, of course, introduced by the Secretary of State for Transport. Costs should not be awarded in any event as a matter of course since they may only be awarded where two further requirements are both satisfied: firstly, the provisions of the Bill have been altered to include provisions for the protection of the Petitioner, this has not been done at least to date in the interim decision and , secondly, the Petitioner has been unreasonably or vexatiously subjected to expense in defending his or their rights proposed to be interfered with by the Bill. That is a high test to meet and the Promoter submits that it has not been met here. Sir, in any event, the simple answer is we do not think the cost provisions apply to the hybrid bill process.
21439. Sir, finally, you will be relieved to hear, I have an update on the Access Option, which is Section 10 of the written statement. Sir, you said in your interim decisions you would like an update from the Secretary of State on the Access Option. The Access Option would provide security that Crossrail trains can have sufficient access to Network Rail's network needed for Crossrail to work as a project and to ensure its benefits can be realised. You will recall, Sir, there was unhappiness in the rail industry about using railway powers in the Bill to secure access to the rail network. There was widespread support for using an Access Option instead, which is an existing industry mechanism under the Railways Act. The Promoter therefore decided to negotiate an Access Option with Network Rail which will be subject to the approval of the Office of Rail Regulation. The Promoter consulted widely on the policy document describing the planned Access Option which was finalised and published in March 2006. You will recall that the cross industry Timetabling Working Group, under an independent chairman, oversaw work to demonstrate the feasibility of the Crossrail timetable and took a look at the growth issues. The Committee then heard evidence on this at some length last July. Later that month, the Promoter started to discuss heads of terms over the Access Option with Network Rail. Also, at that time Network Rail assumed the lead in further timetabling and other modelling work and that work is detailed and I know Mr Berryman provided it to the Committee dated 17 July last year. As that paper described, the modelling work needed to support the Access Option application is very extensive. There has been consultation with interested parties through regular meetings of the Reference Group chaired by Network Rail which replace the Timetabling Working Group. The results of the modelling work are emerging and the reference group is being consulted on them.
21440. Preparing the Access Option is by its nature a contractual negotiation with Network Rail. It is built on a great deal of technical detail on operational and other issues. The work required has been particularly extensive because the use of Access Options has not been highly developed by the industry and each one is to a significant bespoke.
21441. Sir, you will be pleased to hear that the legal drafting will be in excess of 100 pages long. Happily, I can report that the Promoter and Network Rail are currently dealing with what are a handful of remaining issues and the joint aim is to formally agree the text within the next month. The Promoter and Network Rail are currently undertaking pre-application consultations with the ORR. Once the Access Option is submitted to the ORR, together with the supporting timetabling modelling, the ORR will publish it and undertake industry consultation in the usual way. That process may include the holding of a hearing. The ORR's decision will then be taken in accordance with its statutory duties under the Railways Act that apply to all applications.
21442. Assuming that the ORR's process follows a typical timetable for such applications, the decision would be in time to inform the Lords' Select Committee and railway Petitioners before they are heard. Sir, I know that some Petitioners hope that a must faster timetable could be achieved but the Promoter has consistently said that this is not practicable. The Promoter and Network Rail have worked very hard to reach the current stage and the aim is to make a formal submission of the Access Option to the ORR within the next month. Of course, since the Committee will be sitting again for a final session to deal with the final AP, the Woolwich AP, assuming that the House gives the appropriate instruction on the request of the Secretary of State, then there will be a final opportunity to update you as to where matters have reached at that stage. Sir, thank you for patience. I hope that has covered those general issues sufficiently for the Committee's purposes
21443. CHAIRMAN: It is certainly very comprehensive. That would concludes today's hearing but before we do, can I remind Mr Elvin, we still have a few notes outstanding which we have been promised you will send, so if you could get those to us.
21444. MR WALTERS: Sir, I have been here all day and I have a Petition and have not been heard.
21445. CHAIRMAN: It is not appropriate to deal with that now, you will have to deal with the clerk.
21446. MR WALTERS: Why have I not been heard, I have put a Petition in, number 14?
21447. CHAIRMAN: Sir, were you scheduled to appear here?
21448. MR WALTERS: She is saying no, but I have not come here for nothing, I have been here all day.
21449. CHAIRMAN: I am afraid you are not on the programme but the clerk will talk to you after the hearing today, but you are certainly not scheduled for today. It only remains for me to say that concludes today's hearing. The next time this Committee will meet will be on a day and time of my choosing.
Adjourned Sine Dine