Residents Society of Mayfair
and St James's, the Mayfair Action Group; Mr Leo Walters;
and the Crossrail Coalition of Residents and Petitioners
162. The Residents Society of Mayfair and St
James's and the Crossrail Coalition presented their petitions
jointly with the same Counsel. Mr Leo Walters presented his
petition immediately following theirs but in effect gave support
to the combined presentation on behalf of both petitioners.
163. The Petitioners asked the Committee is consider
three distinct issues: the deletion of clause 21 of the Bill,
the provision of an independent advice and assistance agency and
a Supplementary Environmental Statement on what has come to be
known as the Cavendish Square alternative route.
164. Clause 21 of the Bill deals with proceedings
in respect of statutory nuisance. The clause provides that local
authorities will safeguard the interests of residents in respect
of nuisance. All local authorities have agreed a construction
plan which will apply under Section 60 of the Control of Pollution
Act 1974. In consequence of this, the clause also removes the
ability of residents to take statutory nuisance cases to the courts.
It would be for the local authorities to enforce any breach of
the conditions of the construction plan.
165. The Petitioners asked for this clause to
be deleted to enable them to take statutory nuisance cases to
court if necessary. The Petitioners do not have confidence in
their local authorities to protect their interests and so asked
for this clause to be deleted to give them more control, as they
saw it, over action to be taken arising from statutory nuisance.
166. Secondly, the Petitioners asked for an independent
advice and assistance service to be set up for the benefit of
all those affected by Crossrail. The suggestion was that that
service might have experts in various fields available to those
affected so that they could seek independent, expert advice. The
Petitioners did not present detailed proposals for this service
and had not costed the suggestion.
167. Lastly the Petitioners raised the issue
of the Cavendish Square alignment and asked the Committee to recommend
that a Supplementary Environmental Statement be completed for
this alignment. The Petitioners claimed that they did not necessarily
want the route to be re-aligned in consequence of such a statement
but that they wanted a comparative exercise to be done between
the statement for the Cavendish Square alignment and the Bill
scheme route. If the Cavendish Square alignment were to emerge
as a 'less harmful' route the Petitioners felt they would be entitled
to more extensive mitigation measures to protect themselves and
their properties from any harm that might be caused by Crossrail.
168. We are not minded to require the deletion
of clause 21 of the Bill. Clause 21 is needed so that the nominated
undertaker knows what work it can carry out without the threat
of a member of the public taking a case to the magistrates' court.
The local authorities have been charged with protecting residents
from statutory nuisance and have together drawn up a construction
plan which has to be adhered to by the nominated undertaker. The
substance of the clause was included in the Channel Tunnel Rail
Link Actit is a sensible provision and does not in any
way remove the power of local authorities to step in where the
nominated undertaker breaches the Section 60 agreement.
169. We are further not minded to require the
setting up of a form of independent advice/assistance service.
We are satisfied that there is adequate protection for those affected
under current proposals. The Promoter will run a 24 hour helpline
which will be available to anyone with concerns during the construction
phase of Crossrail. The Promoter will also appoint an independent
Complaints Commissioner who will act as a form of Ombudsman. We
believe and expect that this person will be of suitable stature
to take on such an important role (paras 12997-13001).
170. The Petitioners and all others affected
by Crossrail will also be protected by their local authority.
We agree with the Promoter that local authorities are taking on
a suitable and sensible role as regards Crossrail. Local authorities
are democratically elected to represent the interests of all local
people. They have access to relevant expertise and can advise
residents accordingly. Under Schedule 7 to the Bill, and Section
61 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974, the local authorities
have an extensive set of powers that they can use on behalf of
local residents. It is unfortunate that some Petitioners have
expressed reservations about the competence of their local authorities
but that is not adequate reason to spend funds on another advice
service without a clear purpose or rationale beyond what is already
on offer to those affected by Crossrail.
171. We do not require the Promoter to carry
out a Supplementary Environmental Statement for the Cavendish
Square alignment. We consider that such an exercise would be costly,
in financial terms, and in terms of time, as it would involve
extensive consultation with those who would be affected by the
alternative route. We believe that cost would be unjustified.
We accept the Promoter's case that there are no clear advantages
to the Wigmore Street/Cavendish Square alignment and that it was
never considered to be a 'main alternative' and so was not included
in the Environmental Statement.