Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 5280 - 5299)

  5280. However, with the new plans that I have seen it would seem to be easier to get to the southbound service of the East London Line, but I would like an assurance on this because when I looked at the plans it was still quite difficult to see exactly how that actually might work. If people want step-free access, they will still have to walk all the way around and anybody going to a London hospital it will be the same, they will have to come out and walk the 360 steps and further to get to the London Hospital. In my Petition I did suggest a more southerly route and I realise that is not within your remit nor is it possible because of all the tunnels underneath the London hospital and Whitechapel Road, but it seems to me to be the possibility of arrangement with a station at what is the rather under-used Royal Mail depot. However, I accept that cannot be done.

  5281. The proposed start date for Crossrail is 2010 and I believe the completion date then is 2017. However, I would say for residents of Durward Street we have already had the first work because we have already had trenches dug all the way along the streets specifically to see what services are beneath the street, so for many weekends we would have the sound of digging out in Durward Street starting very early on Saturday and Sunday mornings. That appears to have finished for the moment, but we have also had on Friday engineers who came into Durward and Kempton Court to look at where they could drill to see the length of the piles and as soon as the Crossrail Act is passed, then they intend to come and drill in several places to look at the length of the pile, so this year presumably we will be having that work done and we also are expecting to have a borehole to look at ground water levels and whatever is going on below the surface. That will take three to four weeks to drill, the agreements have been made between the landlord and the contractor, but it will require five car parking spaces to be vacated and hoarding put up. In this year alone we will have two disruptive works in Kempton Court and we had the actual work in the street last year, so I am saying really from 2007 to 2017, it is a period of ten years that we will actually have work, not even just from 2010 and seven years. For this very reason I think we do need to have really good support on Crossrail from a people's point of view, otherwise we will not survive. I just think the whole unremittingness of all this work is really likely to take a toll if not on our physical health, on our mental health as well. Even if we go to the doctors to sort of say, "I am feeling a bit ill from all this", the doctor's surgery is right next door to Sainsbury's worksite so they will be suffering the same problems really.

  5282. I had a brief glimpse of the document that showed an overstation development of Whitechapel and it was quite a tall building and this looked very alarming because this would have been out of scale with the northern streetscape and the local area. The buildings on the northern side are pretty well all Victorian buildings, they may look very scruffy and so on but nevertheless part of the masterplan for Whitechapel is to improve those buildings back to their original glory and there are some fine buildings. I mean it may be seen as regeneration, but it would really not be in keeping. However, I am assured by Crossrail that in fact they are a railway and not a developer, or at least I have read that in previous transcripts and I just would like assurance that we are not suddenly going to have overstation developments or buildings put upon us.

  5283. I have seen the draft Consultation Community Relations Strategy Framework and I do agree that it appears to cover all aspects of communication. However, I am sure that Sainsbury's supermarket thought they had a similar policy, yet many things went wrong. For instance, during the height of summer the workmen decided to come to work early to beat the traffic and then get home early to enjoy summer so they started work at six o'clock in the morning and this was completely unacceptable to have the roof metal dropped on the building at six o'clock in the morning. Sainsbury's since sorted it out, but it is just the sort of thing that one is concerned about really and along with the ventilation behind it.

  5284. MS SINGLETON: We really do want to be very much supported and there needs to be an opportunity for local people to work together to sort out the issues local to Whitechapel. I did request in the House of Commons that a one-stop shop be provided, but it was unclear to me whether it was going to be in Whitechapel or Spitalfields because sometimes we are written together and sometimes separately, so I would like some clarification on that. Whilst it has been useful to be included in the Crossrail Liaison Panel, I believe there are sufficient concerns for the Whitechapel area to have a working group to deal with problems arising in the local area, and I say a working group. The other thing is there seems to be little knowledge of the scale of the work or any of the changes that will arise in the Whitechapel area and we would ask Crossrail to put out more information and publicity in the area now. My Lord, that is all I wish to say.

  5285. CHAIRMAN: Ms Lieven, are there any points of clarification that you want to ask Ms Singleton? I am not inviting you to cross-examine.

  5286. MS LIEVEN: I do not think so, my Lord. She has very fairly raised a number of concerns which she has raised with us in the past and most recently in the meeting a couple of days ago, a number of which I or the witnesses—depending on how your Lordships wish to deal with it—will respond to but I do not think I need to ask Ms Singleton any questions.

  5287. CHAIRMAN: It seems to me that if you have your witnesses here there is a number of points she has raised that you might like to tell us about because we have not heard your answer.

  5288. MS LIEVEN: Certainly, my Lord.

  5289. CHAIRMAN: And it would give her an opportunity to ask questions.

  5290. MS LIEVEN: Yes. What I propose to do is to start by calling Mr Walters who is the chief engineer at Crossrail and can give evidence on --- I do not think it is necessary for him to give the evidence on what we are doing at Whitechapel because I think your Lordships know enough about that, but Ms Singleton can ask any questions. What he can do is talk about lorry routes, lorry routes and lorry numbers I should say.


  5291. MS LIEVEN: Mr Walters, I think this is the first time you have given evidence to this Committee?

  5292. CHAIRMAN: As far as we are concerned it is.

  5293. MS LIEVEN: Can you explain your position with the company and something of your background?

   (Mr Walters) I have 30 years' experience in the planning, design and construction of major infrastructure projects. I have been working on Crossrail now for five years and during that time initially I was involved in the planning and design of the submissions that you have before you for the engineering and more recently been involved in progressing the Bill through the House of Commons and liaising with petitioners and sorting out agreements and so on.

  5294. CHAIRMAN: What is your professional discipline?

   (Mr Walters) I am a civil engineer. I am a fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers and a member of the Institution of Structural Engineers and I have an engineering degree from Cambridge University.

  5295. MS LIEVEN: I think the main thing I want you to deal with, Mr Walters, is highway implications and lorry movements. Can we put up, just to remind ourselves, the plan of the lorry routes, please which is 009.[9] First of all, can you just confirm, was I right in my answer to Baroness Fookes that, as far as this site is concerned, all the lorries are coming down Durward Street from the east and then exiting west into Vallance Road? Is that right?

  (Mr Walters) That is correct.

  5296. When we get to Vallance Road there will also be some lorries coming from the Hanbury Street side?

   (Mr Walters) There will.

  5297. Can I have put up the relevant page from the Supplementary Environmental Statement 3.[10] It is quite difficult to see but this shows, first of all, Vallance Road to Durward Street, to Whitechapel Road one way, and that has got a total of 70 vehicles and I think that is roughly made up of this sort—Sorry, going back to the top, this is peak construction lorry movements per day, is that right?

  (Mr Walters) Yes, there are peak movements and then non-peak. Non-peak are really the average during the general life of the worksite and then for a particular period, maybe 18 or 30 weeks, particularly when excavation of material is the main work that is being undertaken, there are a lot more lorries so we then get a peak which we have estimated there as well as a separate column.

  5298. The peak going into Vallance Road is made up of the 16 which are Vallance Road, Buxton Street to Durward Street, those, I think, are the vehicles coming from the Hanbury Street site to the north, is that right?

   (Mr Walters) That is correct.

  5299. MS LIEVEN: Then we have the 60 vehicles from Brady Street coming from Sainsbury's carpark down into Durward Street and then into Vallance Road.

   (Mr Walters) That is correct. The 60 come from the Swanlea School or the Essex Wharf site and from the District Line worksite, so from the two worksites on Durward Street, so you add the 16 to the 60. Again, I must emphasise that is adding two peaks together and they may not coincide. Although work is concurrent at a lot of our railway sites the peaks are not necessarily concurrent.

9   Crossrail Ref: P40, Whitechapel Station-Proposed Lorry Routes (TOWHLB-8_04-009) Back

10   Crossrail Supplementary Environmental Statement 3, Table 8.1 Estimated Lorry Movements on Local Roads (SCN-200800317-001) Back

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