Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence


Examination of Witnesses (Questions 7500 - 7519)

  7500. CHAIRMAN: Do not read out the references.

  7501. MR CARRIER: In exhibit 27 it is stated: "However, there will be a significant impact resulting from the permanent loss of station car parking spaces. Track realignment will result in the loss of the majority of the spaces in the southern station car park, some 65 spaces. In addition, a section of Felixstowe Road under the Harrow Manor Way flyover will be permanently realigned. This will result in a permanent loss of some 10 to 12 car parking spaces in the northern station car park."[85]86 Since there is no alternative parking it is an impact which cannot be mitigated.

  7502. There are seven significant permanent impacts on traffic levels indicated in exhibit 28.[86]87 Though in the case of five of the impacts it is stated that traffic can be accommodated within the current highway capacity, one of the conclusions in the report of Mouchel on the highway impact of Crossrail was that with Crossrail there will be a considerable increase in passenger demand that will require the highway network to be improved to cater for the additional demand attributable to Crossrail. In exhibit 29 it is stated: " ... the catchment area for Abbey Wood station is predominantly to the south and east ... ".[87]88

  7503. You will, no doubt, not unreasonably, come to the conclusion that I have misgivings about the way my concerns will be addressed by Transport for London, the Department for Transport, Greenwich Council and Bexley Council. I, of course, appreciate that the Promoter is a joint venture initiative between Transport for London and the Department for Transport. The reasons why I have misgivings will now be given. The House of Commons Select Committee's First Special Report on the Crossrail Bill was published on Tuesday 23 October 2007. In exhibit 30 it is stated: "We were also concerned that, as one might expect in the case of a Bill of this size, the only organisation placed to answer detailed public enquiries about the Bill was the company, Cross London Rail Links (the company formed to promote the Bill). In relation to certain cases put to us, we have highlighted our dissatisfaction at the lack of information given at times by the Promoter to the public during the consultation periods."[88]89

  7504. In exhibit 31 it is stated: "During the last 22 months we have become immersed in the intricate detail of this complicated piece of legislation. Whilst we are now aware of the extensive information available describing the Crossrail scheme and its expected impacts, we remain concerned that members of the public may struggle to locate information that is relevant to them. Every person affected by the Crossrail Bill has the right to understand what it will mean for them and their area. The Promoters must take steps now and at every stage of this process to ensure that information provided to the public is clear, accessible and comprehensive."[89]90

  7505. In paragraph 5(2) of my Petition, I endeavoured to highlight the anxiety of Greenwich Council, amongst others, for the Secretary of State to make a decision before additional traffic modelling was available, and Exhibit 1 is the letter I refer to there and Exhibit 2 is a letter referred to therein.[90]91,[91]92 The signatory of the latter letter is Councillor Chris Roberts, who is the Leader of Greenwich Council. As I have explained, it is estimated by TfL that approximately 18.3 million journeys across the Thames Gateway Bridge would be made annually. Consequently, to have given insufficient attention to the traffic management measures required was an act with complete disregard to the well-being of Bexley's and Greenwich's residents.

  7506. As can be seen from Exhibit 25, Bexley Council supported the construction of the Thames Gateway Bridge, but informed Greenwich Council that it considered that planning permission should not be granted until a full traffic impact assessment in relation to the Bexley road network with reliable assumptions and traffic figures had been published. Full planning permission was granted by Greenwich Council (subject to conditions, satisfactory completion of a legal agreement, et cetera) on 4 December 2004, Exhibit 32, but its resolution made no provision for the assessment requested by Bexley Council.[92]93

  7507. Although Bexley Council supported the construction of the bridge until the Thames Gateway Bridge Inquiry closed on 3 May 2006, on the following day, 4 May, the Council's administration changed and thenceforth it opposed the construction.

  7508. Mr Berryman, in answer to a question from Lady Fookes on the question of the division of responsibility, said, at Exhibit 33, "My Lady, I would not like to say anything unkind about local authorities, but I am afraid bitter experience tells us that if you take the passive attitude then quite often something does not happen. We try to take a fairly proactive attitude as far as we can".[93]94 Unless I have my intelligence wrong, nothing appears to be happening in regard to the development of the road network in my local area as a result of Crossrail and the other projects I have mentioned.

  7509. As I explained in paragraph 5(1) of my Petition, part of the road network around Abbey Wood is situated in the London Borough of Greenwich and part in the London Borough of Bexley. Notwithstanding that fact, Bexley Council has found it necessary to petition its concerns, quite a number of which are similar to mine, and Greenwich Council has not petitioned, even though there must be common issues. That scenario, on the face of it, reinforces the view mooted by me in paragraph 5(14) of my Petition that a cohesive approach is not being accomplished.

  7510. I was not surprised to read in paragraph 14 of Bexley Council's Petition, Exhibit 34, that it has requested the Promoter to enter into meaningful discussions on a particular issue.[94]95 That request seems to me to be an example of the lack of momentum that can be generated by an assurance, in this case, entry number 153 in the Register of Undertakings and Assurances, Exhibit 16.[95]96

  7511. In response to me, the Promoter has said, "Any agreed mitigation measures, such as revising parking arrangements or minor highway works, do not need to be included as scheduled works. This is explained in the methodology underpinning the Crossrail Environmental Statement", and see the paragraphs I refer to there of the Environmental Statement. These paragraphs are set out in the response. The Promoter also said, "It is envisaged that it will be possible in due course to agree an appropriate package of measures that will mitigate the impacts of the Crossrail scheme on journeys to and from Abbey Wood. To help achieve this, the Promoter has maintained close contacts with the relevant project teams across Transport for London as well as officers at the London Boroughs of Greenwich and Bexley".

  7512. I understand that the Secretary of State is hoping that the Bill will get Royal Assent in July 2008 to start serving notices to treat in the autumn and then appoint the nominated undertaker. I understand also that it is possible that Crossrail works could begin in 2009/10. Therefore, I reiterate the statement made by me in paragraph 5(16) of my Petition that my concerns should be dealt with before the Select Committee of your Right Honourable House has completed its consideration of the Bill because the public need to have a clear understanding of the impact of the Bill, how each area will be affected by it and what action will be taken by the Promoter to mitigate any impact. In paragraph 5(17) of my Petition, I have set out the measures that I think need to be taken to enable that objective to be achieved.

  7513. Finally, I should mention that I seem to recollect that during the course of the Select Committee's hearings it was said that what is acceptable to a council may not be acceptable to a petitioner. As far as Bexley Council is concerned, I have got the impression that it has taken the stance that everything will be okay on the day. My view is that you cannot always rely on a council to take the lead, but of course that view is tempered by the fact that, if there were to be a public meeting for local residents who would be most affected by the proposals for the road network, then such proposals could be scrutinised and, especially having regard to the fact that there are two councils involved here which, unless I have got it wrong, do not always see eye to eye, and I have got to put that some way, perhaps a series of exhibitions could be arranged by the Promoter in conjunction with those two councils. Certainly in other respects, I have noted that the Promoter recognises the importance of community involvement in planning.

  7514. CHAIRMAN: Mr Carrier, we are going to have to stop quite soon because the shorthandwriters have got to write up today's proceedings so that we can all read them tomorrow. Is it going to be possible for you to come again tomorrow morning?

  7515. MR CARRIER: Yes, my Lord.

  7516. CHAIRMAN: Well, that is very helpful. I think there is quite a lot here that needs to be clarified and, if what you are asking for is in sub-paragraph (17) of your Petition, then the extent to which that is covered by the undertaking, I think, will need to be explored, so would you mind coming back and continuing with this tomorrow?

  7517. MR CARRIER: Not at all, my Lord.

  7518. CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much, and we will see you again. Ms Lieven, other than that, what are we going to do tomorrow?

  7519. MS LIEVEN: My Lord, it was only that I believe that Mr Carrier had just finished—



85   86 Committee Ref: A38, Crossrail Environmental Statement, Volume 3 Para. 11.12.65 (BEXYLB-4_05-086) Back

86   87 Committee Ref: A38, Crossrail Environmental Statement, Volume 8d, Table 28.3 Route Window SE8-Permanent impacts (BEXYLB-4_05-087) Back

87   88 Committee Ref: A38, London Borough of Bexley-Petition No. 44, Para. 10 (BEXYLB-4_05-088) Back

88   89 House of Commons Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill, First Special Report of 2006-07, Crossrail Bill, HC 235-I, Para 25 (BEXYLB-4_05-089) Back

89   90 House of Commons Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill, First Special Report of 2006-07, Crossrail Bill, HC 235-I, Para 244 (BEXYLB-4_05-090) Back

90   91 Committee Ref: A38, Correspondence from Thames Gateway London Partnership to the Secretaries of State of Communities and Local Government, and of Transport, Thames Gateway Bridge, 2 April 2007 (BEXYLB-4_05-001) Back

91   92 Committee Ref: A38, Correspondence from Thames Gateway London Partnership to the Secretary of State of Communities and Local Government, Thames Gateway Bridge, 15 February 2007 (BEXYLB-4_05-002) Back

92   93 Committee Ref: A38, London Borough of Greenwich, Record of Planning Meeting, 14 December 2004 (BEXYLB-4_05-090) Back

93   94 Para 1615 [Mr Berryman] Back

94   95 Committee Ref: A38, London Borough of Bexley-Petition No. 44, Para. 14 (BEXYLB-4_05-088) Back

95   96 Committee Ref: A38, Crossrail Register of Undertakings and Assurances No. 153 (BEXYLB-4_05-067) Back


 
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