Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 5340 - 5359)

  5340. MS LIEVEN: Can we move on to another aspect of highways issues? Ms Singleton is understandably concerned about the narrowness of Durward Street and the fact that there are parked cars on it at the moment to the north and some bollards have been placed by Tower Hamlets on the corners here (indicating) that make access more difficult for lorries. In terms of removing the car parking first of all, can we put up the undertaking register 137? It is page 90.[15] It is difficult to see but I think we have entered into an assurance with the residents that the Promoter "will require the nominated undertaker in liaison with the local authority to ensure the parking restrictions are in place on Durward Street during the times that Winthrop Street is closed. The Promoter will also require the nominated undertake to ensure suitable arrangements are put in place for refuse collection from Trinity Hall during this time". If there is a need, and I think we all agree that there probably will be a need, to remove parking from the north side of Durward Street, is that something which we have already given an assurance on and which falls within the powers of the Bill?

  (Mr Walters) I am not sure that we have given an assurance, but removing parking on Durward Street is something that, with the width of the street, would seem to be—

  5341. CHAIRMAN: What is the number of the assurance?

  5342. MS LIEVEN: It is 137, my Lord. It is in your pack, Mr Mould tells me. It is your page 16.

   (Mr Walters) But it does specifically say when Winthrop Street is closed.

  5343. In terms of the bollards, I think we have got quite a good picture of the bollards, if you will give me a moment.[16] I think these are the bollards which are causing the problems at the moment.

  5344. MS SINGLETON: Both sides.

  5345. MS LIEVEN: There is another one over here (indicating). You can just catch the corner of it. If, for reason of the Crossrail project, these bollards have to be removed or a little bit of the corner has to be taken off or the pavement slightly re-orientated north to south, are those matters (1) which are within the powers of the Bill, and (2) which can be agreed with Tower Hamlets?
  (Mr Walters) They are. Removal of street furniture temporarily or permanently and altering junctions is something that we would do in agreement with the local authorities. The East London Line here, as I understand it, will be coming up Brady Street and turning left into Durward Street there (indicating), whereas we will come through Sainsburys car park, so it will not be quite such a sharp turn, but nevertheless we will have to look at the junction in more detail.[17]

  5346. The only other issue I wanted you to deal with, which I freely acknowledge is probably outside your area of expertise specifically but I think you are the best witness I have got today on it, is the one-stop-shop idea. Is this something which the project will consider closer to the time in terms of how to manage community liaison in this area?

   (Mr Walters) Community liaison is something that has already started and has been going on for a long time but, as we get near construction we will obviously increase the amount of contact that we have with them. The one-stop-shop is something that we have talked about in Spitalfields and for Whitechapel, and the Ideas Store on Whitechapel Road here (indicating) is one location that has been suggested for that. It is very well-known in the area.

  5347. It is probably worth pointing out to the Committee, because it certainly took me a very long time to realise this, that the Ideas Shop is Tower Hamlets' name for the library, I think.

   (Mr Walters) That is right.

  5348. It is a little bit more than a library but it is not a shop; it is a community facility in that sense, is that right?

   (Mr Walters) If it is similar to the ones near us, it has books, computers and so on. It is designed to access information in a number of ways.

  5349. And so is that a possible location for an information point?

   (Mr Walters) It is. We have now and will continue to have our 24-hour a day, 7-day a week helpline and our contractors will have to have people specifically with the responsibility for community liaison.

  5350. So will the contractors have a group of people specifically responsible for community liaison at Whitechapel who will be available on a 24-hour basis?

   (Mr Walters) Yes. We will require them to do that when we are working 24 hours.

  5351. MS LIEVEN: I think, Mr Walters, that covers all the points that I had picked up from Ms Singleton's presentation, but she and the Committee may have other questions for you.

  5352. CHAIRMAN: I expect she has. Before I invite her to ask them, can you tell us how far you have got with Tower Hamlets on traffic management?

   (Mr Walters) We have agreed the main traffic routes. We have shown you the routes for three of the sites, I think, Stepney Green, Hanbury Street and here. We have talked with them about the lorry numbers. It is a continual process as the designs are refined and then we will have to finally have discussions with them when the contractors' proposals come through nearer to construction. We have been talking with them about overall numbers to date.

  5353. Lord James, you see, asked about the possibility of two traffic lights very close together at the end of Durward Street and at the junction of Vallance Road and Whitechapel Road. What distance would that be between the two junctions?

   (Mr Walters) I believe it is about 20 metres, 25 metres.

  5354. CHAIRMAN: That is very close for two sets of traffic lights, is it not?

  5355. LORD JAMES OF BLACKHEATH : You would be better off with a lollipop man with a stop/go lollipop.

   (Mr Walters) We could certainly talk to Tower Hamlets because in very specific areas, as you have seen at Hanbury Street, we have had more detailed discussions, so where there is a particular issue such as this we can have more discussions.

  5356. LORD JAMES OF BLACKHEATH : My Lord Chairman has just put his finger on the crux of the problem, the lack of adequate response time that that close proximity to anything which is developing as a difficult situation provides. I would be concerned about the ability to co-ordinate quickly on a 20-metre distance where there is an impending problem coming. I rest my case on that.

  5357. CHAIRMAN: It is not your case, Lord James! You have had no discussions about how you are going to handle these two flows of traffic, one out of Durward Street into Vallance Road and the other one coming down Vallance Road and both of them going out into Whitechapel Road?

   (Mr Walters) I am afraid I am not aware of the detail of the discussion, my Lord.

  5358. But have you had any?

   (Mr Walters) There have been some because there have been discussions from early on when we were going to route all our construction traffic down Durward Street and now, as you know, the construction traffic goes into and out of the Sainsbury's site from Cambridge Heath Road, so that did considerably reduce the volume of traffic down Durward Street that we were originally proposing. I think it would be fair to say that discussions are ongoing with this area.

  5359. Yes, of course they are ongoing and they will not come to a conclusion yet. That is why I asked you how far you had got, but you do not seem to have got very far.

   (Mr Walters) I think we still have to work out the details, my Lord.

15   Crossrail Ref: P40, Register of Undertakings and Assurances, Kempton Court Residents Committee (TOWHLB-8_04-090) Back

16   Committee Ref: P41, View of the junction Durward Street and Brady Street (SCN-20080317-003) Back

17   Committee Ref: P41, View of the junction Durward Street and Brady Street from Whitechapel Sainsbury's car park, Cambridge Heath Road (SCN-20080317-004) Back

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