Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 10680 - 10699)

  10680. MR DINGEMANS: Mr Lawrence, you have been sworn outside. Can you tell their Lordships your name?

  (Mr Lawrence) Gregory Alfred Lawrence.

  10681. What is your occupation?
  (Mr Lawrence) Meat wholesaler.

  10682. What is your role in relation to the Smithfield Market Tenants Association?
  (Mr Lawrence) I am the Chairman of Smithfield Market Tenants Association.

  10683. I think in paragraph two of your statement you give a bit of background, may I skip that and three. I think you also give some details of the Association in paragraph four, again, may I skip that. Paragraph five I think has been covered by evidence from the Promoter about the layout, so may I skip. Paragraph six, can you tell us what happened in relation to the refurbishment of the market?
  (Mr Lawrence) Yes. In the early 90s the refurbishment of Smithfield Market had to go on because of the new rules and regulations of the EEC. The Corporation spent a considerable amount of money on refurbishing the market and each tenant spent a considerable amount of money refitting their stalls up to the standards.

  10684. You mention the refrigeration part and in paragraph seven you mention the underground car park. How important are the parking spaces both on the ramp and the underground car park to the market?
  (Mr Lawrence) Absolutely vital.

  10685. Do you know whether those parking spaces are demised to you or are they owned by the Corporation?
  (Mr Lawrence) They are all owned by the Corporation.

  10686. I think in paragraph eight you break down the trade. Can you tell the Committee very briefly what is the difference between boxed meat and carcass meat?
  (Mr Lawrence) The boxed meat is, which George Abrahams just explained, they deal in just boxed and wrapped goods. Carcass tenants, and I am one of them, deal in carcass meat, hind quarters and fore quarters of beef, whole pigs, whole lambs and then my staff cut them up from ten at night onwards.

  10687. You mention in paragraph nine the regulations for the supply of meat, can you give us a bit more detail in relation to that? How many inspectors work permanently in Smithfield Market?
  (Mr Lawrence) You have got seven meat inspectors permanently on site and one vet permanently on site.

  10688. Can I ask you to look at page 108 and 109 of the bundle.[16] I think this will come up and I hope this is an answer to my Lord Chairman's question in relation to the regulations and baseline. Baseline, there is a bit of material here about baselines and quality technical reports giving details about the development since 1997 and air quality management areas. He says that the area around Smithfield Market, this is the baseline assessment in the ES, makes appropriate reference to the air quality management areas which are currently in force around the Smithfield area. Do you yourself know what the limits are or can you tell us how they work in practice?

  (Mr Lawrence) No, I do not know what the limits are. At this particular time the meat inspectors and the vets, if they see any dust or rubbish on any cut of meat it is immediately condemned.

  10689. I think there is some more material which continues on 108 and 109. We can come back to that. Where does the carcass meat come from so far as the market is concerned?
  (Mr Lawrence) All around the UK.

  10690. How does it get into the market itself? Can it be carried through open air?
  (Mr Lawrence) Yes, it arrives by refrigerated containers. It locks on to the dock shelter, then by robotic arm, with the help of staff, it is unloaded and then it is placed into each individual tenant's shop.

  10691. I think you produced a copy of your lease, which we have already looked at. Can I turn on to your paragraph 12 where you set out your concerns about the works. Is that right?
  (Mr Lawrence) That is correct.

  10692. Can you go through those very quickly? What about the impact of traffic around the market? Mr Mould has made a point to the effect that it is hoped that if the escalator scheme is moved there will be no loss of parking or loading bays in Lindsey Street, is that going to be right?
  (Mr Lawrence) No, I do not think that is right because I think Mr Mould did mention just on the market side on Lindsey Street that there are loading bays on both sides of Lindsey Street and any loss of any loading bays would be a dramatic effect on Smithfield. The impact of the flow of traffic around the market, as we know, is one-way. You have only got to get one vehicle holding up the flow of the traffic for a number of minutes and it is just a bottleneck all the way around and it is solid and it is a big distraction.

  10693. So far as the hours of operation of the market are concerned, Mr Abrahams said what his hours were, can you tell us what your hours of operation are at your end?
  (Mr Lawrence) The business hours?

  10694. Yes, when did you go into work last night and what was happening?
  (Mr Lawrence) I arrived at work at 11 pm last night. My staff started at 9 pm to receive the meat, cutting the meat into individual prime cuts, then it is wrapped and hopefully we sell it.

  10695. When do you finish selling?
  (Mr Lawrence) We finish trading approximately at 9 am, but there are other tenants who finish between 10 am and 11 am.

  10696. Paragraph 14 and 15 I think you deal with Lindsey Street and I think you have commented on that. So far as car parking is concerned, how many bays are in Lindsey Street?
  (Mr Lawrence) I think there are approximately 12.

  10697. In paragraph 16 of your witness statement you mentioned a figure, is that not right?
  (Mr Lawrence) Sorry, I may be a little bit tired. It would be approximately 18, 20, if you can give me a couple of seconds I will count it in my mind.

  10698. Because, in fact, not all the parking bays are loading bays are they?
  (Mr Lawrence) If I could go back to that. It is approximately 18 to 20 loading bays, yes. Could you ask the question again.

  10699. Are there any other parking areas in Lindsey Street as well?
  (Mr Lawrence) No, not in Lindsey street.

16   Committee Ref: A59, Baseline, Environmental-Air Quality, Smithfield Market, Buro Happold 2005 (SCN-20080502-030) Back

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