Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 10500 - 10519)

  10500. MR DINGEMANS: May I start off by thanking you on behalf of the Tenants' Association for sitting in the morning for them. As you know, they work overnight so the witnesses, when they have given their short evidence, will, if that is alright with you, disappear so they can get ready and recover.

  10501. I am very grateful for my learned friend's introduction and I hope you will have seen from my note all the concessions that they have made to the market tenants. We do respectfully submit, though, that there is an important and missing element from the provision and safeguards that, we submit, ought properly to be given to these tenants, and it is simply this.

  10502. As my learned friend has identified, under the existing statutory arrangements if you have, for example, escape of dust—and you will have read enough and been told enough to know that the market operations are acutely sensitive to dust, effectively there are over a thousand inspections a year, so running at over three a day—the moment you trigger dust levels, perfectly understandably for health and safety reasons and food safety reasons the market is closed and the meat condemned.

  10503. Now, there will be escape of dust, notwithstanding all the promises that have been made on behalf of the Promoter. For example, if you look at clause 7 on the document in front of you, you can see in relation to dust that the undertaker will put in place Tier 3 mitigation—and that is, as you know, the highest that you can provide—at the Lindsey Street worksite, the East Basement worksite and the Fox and Knot worksite, and "such Tier 3 Mitigation will include as a minimum all the measures specified in Tier 1 and Tier 2 and ... will include the provisions set out in this clause 7".[11]

  10504. And then, if one goes through, one can see that various promises are made in clause 7 but what there is not provided and could not be provided is any guarantee that dust will not escape from the building works.

  10505. The real point, for example, in relation to dust, and there are other elements -for example, losing the ability to have traffic pass freely around the market at all times—is this: whether it should be the individual market tenants who should bear that loss when we all know it is going to happen—and this is not a case, where it is in other compensation provisions, where sometimes someone may be affected by works or may not—or whether we should be left to the devices of the compensation provisions under the existing laws.

  10506. I have in my note—and I am sorry it was slightly dull and legal in that sense but one needs to understand a bit of the statutory basis on which this undertaking is supposed to be granted—set out some of the current judicial criticisms of the 1965 Act as amended, and we do ask your Lordships to consider carefully whether it is fair for these traders to have imposed upon that unsatisfactory compensation scheme an undertaking the effect of which, if one is being reasonable about it, you can readily identify lawyers will disagree with.

  10507. The great thing about the 1965 Act is there are many cases that come to the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords, great work for lawyers but not necessarily for the poor people that have to fund it, and what we ask for on behalf of market tenants is clarity, a simplified provision providing for proper compensation; extending the law as it is recognised it ought to be extended to cover those situations which are outside economic loss and damage which is covered, where there would be no claims such as escaped dust when there has been no failure of the scheme.

  10508. That is the short residual issue before us.

  10509. Can I just ask, did the note on behalf of the Smithfield Market Tenants' Association find its way to your Lordships?

  10510. CHAIRMAN: Yes, we have it. We have not had time to read it.

  10511. MR DINGEMANS: I need not apologise for it being boring then! What I will do is perhaps give an outline of that now and then take you to the witnesses, who will be very short; it is simply so that you can understand their concerns as expressed by them, and then take you back, if I may, through the submissions.

  10512. Can I just introduce the note?

  10513. Paragraph 1 is, I think, just introductory.

  10514. The issue at paragraph 2, as my learned friend has identified, is whether the nominated undertaker should be directed to pay compensation to the market tenants for loss and damage caused by execution of the works, and there is a bundle of statements.

  10515. Just by way of introduction to the market tenants, there are 35 members, they trade at Smithfield Market, and at paragraph 5 there is a bit of history in relation to Smithfield Market. I did not have to do any of that research because if you turn over the page you can see that all comes from the judgment of, as he was then, Mr Justice Hoffmann in Crown Estates Commissioners v The City of London.

  10516. More relevantly at paragraphs 6 and 7 is the continued current economic relevance of Smithfield. It was extensively refurbished to provide for the six docking stations that I think my learned friend referred to, use of which is mandatory for certain deliveries. There is business at the market in both boxed meat and carcassed meat. The boxed is, as you would expect, in a box; the carcass is effectively exposed to the elements and, therefore, more susceptible to problems.

  10517. The traders, and this is important because this is one of the reasons why the existing law is inadequate, occupy premises pursuant to leases granted by the Corporation of London, and they are ten year leases and are protected under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, but what that means is the value of their land is very small, they have effectively residual benefits to renew leases, so the existing compensation scheme, which is aimed specifically at the value of land, simply would not help them at all. They get nothing at all.

  10518. Now, that has been partly addressed by the undertaking which we will come to, but whether it is fully addressed will be for your Lordships to decide.

  10519. LORD BROOKE OF ALVERTHORPE: Is the business growing or contracting?

11   Committee Ref: P73, Draft Deed between the Nominated Undertaker and individual Smithfield Market Traders-Farringdon Station Eastern Ticket Hall-Dust (LONDLB-23-04-039) Back

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