Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 5140 - 5159)

  5140. If we go on to the next page and look at 4.8, which again is the same Schools Panel meeting, "Crossrail will require each of its contractors to employ an appropriate number of dedicated Community Relations Representatives ... will work directly with the general public ... endeavour to deal with any immediate incidents, problems or queries as swiftly as possible ... ", so we can see, even by reference to simply one meeting that these issues have been discussed at least in part by one of the Schools Panel's meetings?

   (Mr Berryman) They certainly have, and I have also attended meetings with the head teacher and some of the governors of Swanley School, which is the school most affected. I attended that meeting myself. I do not have the minutes here but I was there, and the issue of students leaving and arriving at the school and the lorry routes past the school was the main issue of discussion.

  5141. MR ELVIN: Mr Berryman, unless the Committee has any further questions for me, I have none and I would like you to go back and look after yourself and go to bed.

  5142. CHAIRMAN: I hope you will get better rapidly.

   (Mr Berryman) Thank you for that, my Lord.

  5143. MR ELVIN: Because we need you next week!

The witness withdrew

  5144. CHAIRMAN: Now, what are we going to do on Monday?

Promoter's closing statement on the settlement issues in the Spitalfields area

  5145. MR ELVIN: My Lord, you still have to hear from Mr Mould, if that is convenient.

  5146. CHAIRMAN: Oh, I am so sorry, yes.

  5147. MR ELVIN: It is to close on the settlement issue.

  5148. MR MOULD: My Lord, we have prepared a written note which I will read into the transcript, just pulling together the threads from our presentation to you yesterday through Professor Mair. As the Committee will recall from his presentation on Tuesday, Mr Wheeler raised two concerns about the Promoter's assessment of the potential impact of ground settlement on listed buildings owned by petitioners in Spitalfields from the construction of the running tunnels, and they were as follows: that the Phase 3 Stage 1 assessment reports which the Promoters have carried out in respect of listed buildings situated within the 10mm zone are unfit for that purpose because they are not informed by internal inspections of the buildings. The second point was that those assessment reports are incomplete because they omit consideration of or reference to a number of built extensions which form part of listed buildings. As to the first of those concerns, Professor Mair has given a detailed explanation of the phased method of assessment of potential ground settlement and of the application of that method to the appraisal of potential impacts from tunnel construction upon listed buildings in Spitalfields, and you will recall that Professor Mair spoke to a number of matters, first the geology of this area, the depth of the tunnel drive at about 35 metres, and the tunnelling method; secondly, the significance of maximum tensile strain; thirdly, the negligible risk of damage to buildings within the 10mm zone in Spitalfields from construction of the running tunnels, and we showed you a graph which illustrated that proposition; fourthly, he explained the Phase 3 Stage 1 assessment method and its application and illustrated that by detailed explanation of the report in respect of 17-25 Wilkes Street—the references are there given. Then he told you about the scoring system which provides for assessment of the sensitivity of each listed building against two criteria, they being sensitivity of the structure to ground movements and interaction with adjacent buildings and sensitivity to movement of particular features within the building, and that table is set out in the Information Paper D12.

  5149. Then he told you about the scoring system which provides for assessment of the sensitivity of each listed building against two criteria, being sensitivity of the structure to ground movements and interaction with adjacent buildings and sensitivity to movement of particular features within the building. That table is set out in the Information Paper D12.

  5150. Then he told you of the information sources for the purpose of that sensitivity assessment, being the statutory list compiled and maintained by English Heritage, the Survey of London, Pevsner's Buildings of England, and then external inspection by Alan Baxter Associates, whose preeminent expertise and experience in this specialist field Mr Wheeler did not dispute.

  5151. Then, finally, he told you about the approach to combining assessments of, firstly, building damage classification and, secondly, building sensitivity in order to evaluate the magnitude of likely impacts upon each listed building from ground settlement from tunnel construction, and you will recall we produced an extract from Alan Baxter Associates' report Crossrail Line 1 Assessment of Settlement Impacts on the Built Heritage, volume 1, that part which explained the scope and the methodology that was applied.

  5152. In the light of that evidence, our submission is that Professor Mair has demonstrated that the assessment method for listed buildings is fit for purpose. He has shown that the absence from the assessment of individual listed buildings at Phase 3, Stage 1 of an internal inspection of each building does not render unreliable the assessment reports produced at that stage of the assessment process. I repeat my response to my Lord, Lord Snape's question which is at the references that I give there from yesterday's proceedings. Ultimately, it is a matter for judgment whether any particular component is needed in order to provide a reliable method of assessment. In this instance, the judgment of Alan Baxter Associates and Mott MacDonald, with the approval, as you recall, of English Heritage, was that internal inspection of the buildings was not such a component. That judgment was accepted by the Promoters. The House of Commons Select Committee was happy to accept as adequate the settlement assessment of listed buildings presented in the Phase 3, Stage 1 reports which were indeed produced in evidence before them, and I give you the references in the Special Report. We would respectfully invite your Lordships to reach the same conclusions in the light of Professor Mair's evidence.

  5153. Then more briefly in relation to the second point of concern raised by Mr Wheeler, Professor Mair has answered that at the paragraphs I give again by reference to the graph in relation to the Phase 2 assessment, and, in very short summary, the assessment of maximum tensile strain and the prediction of negligible risk of damage is not affected by the presence of building extensions of the kind illustrated by Mr Wheeler. Now, those submissions deal with the two points raised by Mr Wheeler on behalf of the Spitalfields Petitioners, but we should also summarise what happens next, and here I think I come on to Lady Fookes' questions, as to which you have the evidence of Mr Berryman on Day 10.

  5154. We draw attention to Information Paper D12 which explains the full sequence of the settlement assessment procedure, that is to say, the method of assessing settlement, monitoring arrangements, provision for protective works, defect surveys and repairs. You will find that there is a particular focus on listed buildings in section 7 of that document and section 8 describes the Settlement Deed which is available to building owners of buildings, including listed buildings, which lie within 30 metres on plan of the running tunnels, and we believe that class to include all Petitioners who own listed buildings in Spitalfields situated within the 10mm contour. The Deed will provide such persons with a direct contract with the nominated undertaker which confers the right to secure compliance with the relevant requirements of the settlement procedure, as described in Information Paper D12, and a specimen Deed is annexed to the Information Paper itself.

  5155. In the case of listed buildings in Spitalfields, the procedure set out in that Information Paper is of course supplemented by undertakings given by the Promoters to the Select Committee in another place on 11 October 2006, and I give you the paragraph references from the Special Report, and by the assurance given to Tower Hamlets to produce a guide for effective property owners, which is recorded as number 188 in the register. I have taken instructions and I understand that work on the preparation of that guide is programmed to begin within the next few months.

  5156. In summary from those sources, the position as regards Spitalfields is as follows. The construction of the running tunnels beneath the Petitioners' properties is expected to take place in 2012, and the references are to the plans on which we show the properties in our evidence. Following Royal Assent, and as part of taking forward the detailed design, the nominated undertaker will be required to review the settlement assessments which have been undertaken under the phased process and which your Lordships have seen examples of in the exhibits. Internal inspections of all buildings within the 10mm contour will be carried out in order to produce schedules of defects, and buildings on the Buildings at Risk Register will also be inspected separately, and it may be of interest to note that as, I believe I am right in saying, at present the sole II* listed building, which your Lordship touched on yesterday, is on the Buildings at Risk Register, so, if that remains the position, that will be required to have an internal inspection under that undertaking. Appropriate monitoring will take place in the year before, during and for a period of seven years following completion of the works. Monitoring and best practice during tunnelling works will be deployed in order to minimise the generation of ground movement at source, and Professor Mair explained briefly those matters in his presentation on Day 2. Any preventative or remedial works required to be undertaken by reason of the tunnelling works will be carried out at the Promoters' expense and to a standard commensurate with the age and quality of the listed building. As I sought to explain, I think, yesterday, Schedule 9 to the Bill provides for such measures to be dealt with under heritage agreements settled with English Heritage and, in this case, the interested local planning authority, Tower Hamlets London Borough Council, and you will find an explanation of those arrangements in Information Paper B1 at the paragraph references that I have given in this note.

  5157. We strongly urge Petitioners who own a listed building within 30 metres on plan of the running tunnels to call for a Settlement Deed. Relevant provisions of the Deed are clauses 1(2) and (3), 9, and the Appendix to the Deed, paragraph 1 and 13 to 23. Those relate specifically to listed buildings. I can take your Lordships to that now, if it would be convenient, or, alternatively, perhaps your Lordships would prefer to glance at those outside of the committee proceedings.

  5158. CHAIRMAN: I think we can look at them later.

  5159. MR MOULD: This will provide the building owner with the opportunity to raise points about internal features directly with the nominated undertaker and to pass disputes to an independent expert for resolution. We shall explain the Deed in the guide to property owners. I perhaps ought to say it is right that I should refer to the disputes resolution procedure which you will find encapsulated in clause 9 to the Deed. I should be very disappointed indeed if it were necessary to refer detailed matters regarding internal features to disputes resolution. I would very much hope, and anticipate, that the building owner and the nominated undertaker would be able to reach agreement on matters of that kind.

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