Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 4382 - 4399)

Ordered: that Counsel and Parties be called in.

  4382. CHAIRMAN: I think we may proceed. It is Mr Horton, I think, today.

The Petition of the Spitalfields Society

  4383. MR HORTON: Good morning, my Lords, my Lady. As you may recall, this morning I am appearing on behalf of the Spitalfields Society, presenting part of its Petition. I think the Committee knows that the Society has approached this matter by having different aspects of the Petition presented by different persons.

  4384. CHAIRMAN: Yes, and we are very grateful too.

  4385. MR HORTON: So I wish to concentrate, as I indicated yesterday, really on the same issue as was raised by the SSBA, the Spitalfields Small Business Association. Subject to any guidance the Committee may want to give me and being conscious of time, I was not proposing to develop it in opening because I think I made the position clear yesterday. I am proposing to call Mr Schabas.

  4386. CHAIRMAN: What is Mr Schabas going to say?

  4387. MR HORTON: He is going to give evidence—he is an expert and he gave evidence in the Commons for the Mayfair residents about a different aspect in the Mayfair area—in relation to Route B. It is directed to this issue which I raised yesterday that, on the submission I made yesterday, there is a proper argument that a main alternative as referred to in the European Directive is not a matter for the sole discretion of the Promoters; it is a matter which warrants objective consideration. The Promoters have throughout made it clear that they never regarded Route B as a main alternative and, therefore, do not refer to it in the Environmental Statement or give reasons for rejecting it, if you recall, in 2001. They referred briefly to it at a preliminary stage to indicate why they did not propose to consider that route earlier. Therefore, the purpose of calling Mr Schabas is to give the Committee, I hope, the material on which, if the Committee were so minded, it could take the view that objectively it ought to have been considered as the main alternative.

  4388. CHAIRMAN: So you are dealing with the EIA point?

  4389. MR HORTON: Exactly.

  4390. CHAIRMAN: You are not dealing with the southern route at all?

  4391. MR HORTON: Well, it is not ----

  4392. CHAIRMAN: Are you promoting the southern route? Is Mr Schabas going to come and say that it is a very good route?

  4393. MR HORTON: No. Forgive me, my Lord, but I want to be clear what you are referring to as the `southern route'. I am only concerned with Route B, although in 2007 a number of possible alignments, you will recall ----

  4394. CHAIRMAN: Look, I have to try and get this across. There are two separate points. There is whether or not the process of the European Directive on Environmental Impact Assessment has been complied with ----

  4395. MR HORTON: Precisely.

  4396. CHAIRMAN:—and that is something that we will have to deal with because, on that, the House as a whole will be the judge. There is also the question of whether it would be a good idea to take the railway along Route B. That is a separate point.

  4397. MR HORTON: Yes.

  4398. CHAIRMAN: Now, which of the two are you going to address?

  4399. MR HORTON: The first, my Lord.

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