Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 4980 - 4999)

  4980. MR ELVIN: If you recall, I said we were calling Professor Mair on Wednesday and possibly Mr Thornely-Taylor, and then at the end of the week I would call Mr Berryman on all the issues. It was straight after Mr Carpenter had made his application. Ms Cove was here as well, because she started her case immediately afterwards.

  4981. MS JORDAN: I am terribly sorry. It is not done deliberately. We are trying to help you as well.

  4982. CHAIRMAN: Just listen to me for a minute. We are trying to pay attention to the concerns of the people who live in Spitalfields. There is a limit to the period of time that we can wait. In fact we cannot, we have a programme. If, when you have the opportunity to ask questions, for instance, about subsidence or about noise and nobody comes, you have missed the opportunity.

  4983. MS JORDAN: Well, I did not want to miss this opportunity.

  4984. CHAIRMAN: Well, you did know because it was announced. I say "you", but, as a group, you know.

  4985. MS JORDAN: We failed, but we did not do it deliberately. That is all I can say, that it was not done deliberately, and I rushed back here this afternoon when I realised that this was being talked about.

  4986. CHAIRMAN: We would be very much assisted if you came and put your points, but you do not.

  4987. MS JORDAN: Well, I am trying.

  4988. CHAIRMAN: I am not saying you personally.

  4989. MS JORDAN: Yes, I know. You mean the collective of us.

  4990. CHAIRMAN: Can you get the message through?

  4991. MS JORDAN: I will take it back to the leader and let them know, yes, and I am terribly sorry, but we are here and, if we have missed that opportunity, it was not deliberate and we would have been here.

  4992. CHAIRMAN: I am not blaming anybody. I am simply saying that you are missing your opportunity.

  4993. MS JORDAN: Well, we know that you are our last chance. We feel that at the end of the day, with all these rules and regulations and whatever is written down, the actual effects on the ground are what we will have to actually suffer and it never goes in the wonderful, clean way that it happens on paper.

  4994. CHAIRMAN: There is somebody behind you who wants to say something.

  4995. MRS BRAWNE: Can I say that I was here on Monday. I am on the SSBA Committee, I am the Treasurer of it. I was here on Monday and I did not hear any announcement that Mr Berryman was going to be here on Thursday. If I had, I certainly would have gone back and told my Committee. Now, it might have been said at some time when I was not in this room, which is possible. Also, you have to bear in mind, and you say, "Why don't people turn up and ask questions?", but this is the third day that I am here and this is the first opportunity that has been available for us to ask questions.

  4996. CHAIRMAN: I am sorry, it is not. There are full opportunities given—

  4997. MRS BRAWNE: Will you please stop shouting at me. I do not expect to be treated like a schoolchild. Do not shout at me.

  4998. CHAIRMAN: I am in charge of these proceedings and, if I disagree with what you say, I shall say so. It is not the first opportunity that you have had. You were offered opportunities to ask questions of Professor Mair and of Mr Thornely-Taylor. Nobody turned up.

  4999. MRS BRAWNE: But you also have to bear in mind that Kay Jordan, who is the Director of SSBA, is running four organisations as SSBA is an amalgam of four organisations and she has a staff of about 20 people. Do you know how difficult it is for her to turn up here when all these other things are going undone? It means that at the end of the day she goes back and has to stay overnight to finish all the work that has to be done. This is not the only thing she is doing. You seem to underestimate how difficult it is for members of the public to come into a committee like this, and also in terms of the extreme formality of the way the Committee is run, and I do not object to that at all, but most of the people who live in Spitalfields have not had the opportunity of higher education and they find it extremely difficult to understand these kinds of procedures and you do not make it easy for them to participate in this kind of procedure. Now, if you are saying that we do not turn up, et cetera, et cetera, you have to understand why we do not turn up. It is also very expensive for people to come here from Spitalfields. In terms of the kinds of salaries you have, that may not seem much, but in terms of the kinds of wages that the people of Spitalfields earn, it is expensive to get here. You cannot expect all these people to put aside their time and their jobs to turn up here at every opportunity and I never in the House of Commons' Committee had an opportunity to make any statements. In fact I tried to say something and I was told to shut up and this is the first time in the days that this Committee has gone on that there was a moment that I could come. Now, it may have been on other days when I was not here, because I had a fall and was not feeling well, that there was an opportunity, but can you not send emails to all of us, you have all our emails, and tell us that there will be an opportunity, that Mr Berryman will be here and we can talk? I know Jil Cove was here one day and I was here when she was here and she had to come the next day, but she did not know whether she would be able to talk or not, so it is very unclear what the process is. Could emails not be sent to those of us who have put in Petitions to say what is going on?

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