Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 5020 - 5039)

  5020. MRS BRAWNE: Yes, I understand that. May I return to my statement?

  5021. CHAIRMAN: Yes.

  5022. MRS BRAWNE: Thank you.

  5023. MS JORDAN: I have one thing to add to what Rose was saying. I think one of the problems here is when we appeared in the Commons because we were all different groups and we were not together as, if you like, a large mass that we probably seem to be now, a lot of us were repeating what previous people had spoken about and it got to a stage where we just felt we could not say anything and probably in that respect we have probably now got ourselves too laid back because we dare not say anything and we are trying desperately not to overstate things. I think if it appears that we are not interested --- I do know that the message got to Mr Haque. My understanding was that he was definitely going to appear and I think he is appearing next week, but I am not quite sure what day. He will certainly be here next week and I will take that message as well to people that we should be actually --- We have probably missed it now and I do think this is one of the problems that because when we did appear in the Commons it got to the point we were being told to shut up because we have heard it all before and we did not want to hear it again. I suspect we are now at the position where we dare not open our mouth outside what we had each decided that we would consider. I think that is a problem.

  5024. CHAIRMAN: What you have done between you, very sensibly, is to concentrate on different issues so that you do not repeat yourselves and it has been extremely helpful and very effective. The sort of thing, however, that I find sad is that when Professor Mair was here yesterday dealing in terms with settlement on particular buildings which were mentioned by Mr Wheeler there was nobody here to ask him questions.

  5025. MS JORDAN: One of those buildings—Annetta here—that was mentioned and we had a long discussion in my office last night—

  5026. CHAIRMAN: I cannot hear. It is simply an example.

  5027. MS JORDAN: I have to genuinely say and this is an absolute tragedy because Annetta Pedretti here is one of the owners of one of the buildings that was discussed and she and I had a long discussion in my office last night about it and she was going to write you a letter actually because we decided that was the only way we could mention it, but we did not know about the afternoon session and I am really sorry about that. I cannot do anything about it retrospectively other than maybe give you a letter now.

  5028. CHAIRMAN: We will do our best to continue to keep in touch with you about what is going to happen.

  5029. DR PEDRETTI: Could I make the point, on Tuesday—

  5030. CHAIRMAN: Who are you?

  5031. DR PEDRETTI: My name is Annetta Pedretti. On Tuesday I believe Mr Wheeler referred to one internal survey. It was 25 Princelet Street which is my building, do you remember?


  5033. DR PEDRETTI: I was at home listening to this over the internet and I tried to write you a letter about it and it just became too difficult to do that. The point is that the internal survey was not an internal survey. I saw some people in 2003 I think it was—it might have been 2002—out in the street. They looked like and talked like people who were on a conservation course. I trained as an architect. At the school where I trained there was a conservation course. I assumed they were students of architecture, studying these buildings and because I have been restoring that building for the last 30 years I know a lot about the area and I started explaining things to them out in the street. Then I asked them if they wanted a booklet which is a booklet on the Fournier Street conservation area which was published by the Council in the 1970s and I lent them a copy of that. In that context I asked them to come in and have a cup of tea and find that copy. They promised to send me a copy of their --- I assumed they were doing an essay for school. I got the booklet back. There was a little card which had "Alan Baxter" on it and I thought, "Oh!" This was in 2003 and we had no idea that Crossrail was in any way investigating the area. This is the nature of that supposed internal survey.

  5034. CHAIRMAN: This was exactly why—

  5035. DR PEDRETTI: I would have been here if I realised I could, I tried to write you a letter. It is not easy to write a letter out of the blue. I was before the House of Commons Committee and made an absolute fool by a system that was determined to misrepresent everything I tried to say. I was not about to engage in this process again because I have had the last four years of my life trying to cope with the fact that something that is supposed to be a public project does not have any aspect of public interest in it and that I was only allowed to discuss this public project as a private property owner. I had great difficulty in dealing with the concept of the hybrid bill being applied to a railway—I am a great fan of railways—and there I was having to use features of my building to discuss something which was totally--- In terms of my particular outlook I had great problems with the process. I am, incidentally, one of the people who will be represented by Mr Haque because I chose that to be the most effective way to communicate with you for my personal reasons. I understand from this afternoon's session that you are much more interested than I thought you would be. That is my prejudice and I am sorry.

  5036. CHAIRMAN: We are sorry.

  5037. DR PEDRETTI: We were so intimidated in the House of Commons and not only there but on every occasion when Crossrail actually did do things on site which, was very late, after 2004 it started, every time you tried to communicate with anybody from Crossrail and say, "Look, sorry, my buildings don't have foundations", "Oh, they do have foundations" would be somebody's opinion. They never wanted to take on board the incredible knowledge we have about the area or about these buildings. So the whole—

  5038. CHAIRMAN: I will wait until you finish and then I want to say something.

  5039. DR PEDRETTI: I will finish.

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