Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 1500 - 1513)

  1500. I go on to the issue of accessing other stations both at Maryland and at Manor Park. Maryland is some 840 metres, which is the final figure, I think, which was arrived at, in terms of its distance to Stratford. It is not on that basis walkable and one is looking at bus access. Manor Park is 970 metres, which was the evidence given by Mr West, again it is not walkable, so it is something which has to be done by bus or by some other means. One is looking at that particular issue as a result. My Lords, it is always possible, when looking throughout the Crossrail system, to say, "Well, we're in London. There is bus accessibility. People should be then capable of using other stations and, since they should be capable of using other stations, of accessing them by bus because basically you can always access a bus in London". That is the argument that could have led to no upgrading to many of the stations, but that is not the approach Crossrail took. It decided that many of those stations should be upgraded, so the question of bus accessibility should not automatically lead to a conclusion that, "Well, the upgrading should not occur". The evidence, I suggest, indicates plainly that in respect both of Manor Park and Maryland there is not going to be a seamless journey, as Dr Maynard put it, by going to accessible stations. At Manor Park, you heard the evidence from Mr West, and it was not disputed, the degree to which the various bus stops are not easily connected to the stations in question, and your Lordships will bear in mind no doubt that, despite the fact that Ms Lieven suggests, "Well, one is dealing with buses in London and the people who take buses are used to the way buses work; they get busy", whether or not people are used to it, the point is that one needs to understand the degree to which the mobility-restricted are going to face difficulties when using buses to get to accessible stations, and I suggest that, given the way the buses operate, given the way Mr West himself explained the position, there are going to be disadvantages in doing so and significant ones.

  1501. Looking at the destination of Stratford to Maryland, it is an extremely busy station, and you have heard the evidence from Mr Berryman this morning, and it is not going to be an attractive place for the mobility-restricted, particularly in accessing the system during the a.m. peak. If one is to look at the question, whether those who are mobility-restricted should be entitled to go to work in the a.m. peak is something that should be taken into account. To say, "Well, they can go into the non-peak hours and face a much less busy station" is a point that has no relevance if one is looking at it in the employment context. Again, looking at the question of taxis and car accessibility, given Newham's levels of deprivation, that is not something that sits well for the population within the wards surrounding Manor Park and Maryland.

  1502. I go on then to the question of costs or feasibility. First, the works of both of the stations are feasible, and that is Mr Berryman's evidence. Looking at the position in respect of Manor Park, Manor Park is meant to cost £12 million. The decision was reached that Forest Gate should be upgraded and it was going to cost £12 million. It was going to cost £12 million and it was concluded that, given that there were some 5,000 people, 4.4 per cent of 5,000 people, if you recall the figure, it was about 220 people, given that number of people accessing in the three-hour peak, there should be £12 million spent at that station. When one is looking at Manor Park with some 3,000 people, 4.4 per cent of 3,000 people is about 120, one is looking at a difference of about 100 people in that three-hour peak, leading to the conclusion that the £12 million should not be spent. It is that degree of difference that is leading to a station not being accessible when otherwise it would have been concluded that it should be. Your Lordships will no doubt consider the extent to which there is any logic in that. Indeed, it was part of Ms Lieven's contentions that, when one was looking at that sort of level of numbers, 46 I think she quoted, that was a very low number, and I think "it was minuscule" were the words that she used.

  1503. Your Lordships will also bear in mind in terms of Manor Park no doubt the fact that, given the changes that are occurring in the works at Manor Park, there is no need to get rid of the loop. The loop was going to be closed and, as a necessity, there was going to be the Goodmayes loop put in which is going to cost £20 million. Now, on the basis that the loop is now staying, it is no longer a necessity, that is clear. Given that fact, and I do not go into the detail of it, but given that fact, that £20 million, it has been concluded, should be spent for some other reason. Now, if the £20 million should be spent for some other reason, when one is looking at the £12 million at Manor Park, it is put into some sort of context. Crossrail itself is willing to allocate funding when previously it had decided not to and on the basis of something that, it seems, is not necessary, or not simply seems, but is not necessary.

  1504. In terms of the possessions and disruption that would be caused by the works at Manor Park, if they came forward, your Lordships heard Mr Berryman say that they could be factored into the works that were already being undertaken at Stratford, so, in those circumstances, it does not operate as any sort of a barrier, I suggest, my Lords.

  1505. Looking at the question of Maryland, that is a lower amount of money and, taking the same basic assessment that Mr Berryman undertook, the cost involved, some £4 million, one is looking at 4.4 per cent of 2,000 and that is then to be compared with, as I have said, Forest Gate and 5,000 people and 4.4 per cent of that for £12 million. They are effectively the same in proportionate terms. Again, that is an indicator that the conclusion would ultimately be reached, if one was applying what Mr Berryman applied in the analysis, that Maryland should be upgraded, and there is no reason not to do so.

  1506. Moving on from the question of costs and feasibility to whether or not there are any other ways that these stations, despite their set of facts, could be upgraded, you heard Mr Berryman's evidence today that he did not believe that, in the foreseeable future, that really was a possibility, so this is the way in which these stations are to be upgraded. As I have said, just in order to summarise the position, what I submit is that the policy approach is clear and there ought to be upgrading of these stations to incorporate a new railway system. The criteria that have been used to exclude them by Crossrail do not stand up to any degree of scrutiny and, if one does apply what Mr Berryman himself said was the approach that should be taken towards these various stations, the conclusion ultimately has to be reached that they should be upgraded, so the criteria are not ones that justifiably can be used as a means of excluding the accessibility of those stations.

  1507. If I can finish in this way: one needs to look at it not simply on that basis, but on the more personal level. One needs to put oneself into the position of those who are mobility-restricted and disabled and ask oneself the question: has enough been done in these areas? Ultimately, the answer to that, given the accessibility by bus, is that it has not and it has not accorded with the way the Government itself has said it should in its own policy documentation.

  1508. My Lords, that is what I say by way of closing, unless there are any other matters that your Lordships wish to ask questions on.

  1509. CHAIRMAN: No, I think we have no other points, Mr Reed. Thank you very much indeed. I think we will not start anything else this afternoon. We will, however, have a Petition tomorrow morning at ten which may not last all day, but in the meantime I will ask for the room to be cleared so that my colleagues and I can discuss the Petition we have just heard.

  1510. MS LIEVEN: Certainly, my Lord. Just in terms of tomorrow, the only Petition which is outstanding is the Cyclists' Touring Club.

  1511. CHAIRMAN: I gather they may not take all day.

  1512. MS LIEVEN: I would be surprised. They certainly did not take anything like all day in the other place, my Lord.

  1513. CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

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