Examination of Witnesses (Questions 12160
12160. LADY BRIGHT: It is not just these
trains. We are glad that the new arrangements will be in place
so the headshunt will not come so far west. In other words it
will not run round the train and affect the whole of the rest
of the street but there will be a temporary fleet railway inevitably
moving heavy stuff at all hours of the day and night between the
two work sites out west to the portal while the railway is being
12161. LORD SNAPE: Your witness made
the point, Lady Bright, that it was the EWS trains that were the
main source of the complaints at night and I was trying to ascertain
for my own information just how many EWS trains actually operate
during those hours.
12162. LADY BRIGHT: It depends on the
demand for concrete.
(Mr Hessenberg) It is sporadic.
12163. LADY BRIGHT: At the moment but
what we cannot predictwe have been told three or four freight
trains per day, which is far more then we have at the moment,
during the construction phasebut we cannot really predict
very closely what that will be and we seek reassurance on what
conditions there will be on their operation, we just do not know.
12164. CHAIRMAN: Any more questions?
Thank you very much.
The witness withdrew.
12165. LADY BRIGHT: I think that shows,
perhaps, that we really are not terribly clear between us, not
all of us, exactly what the implications are of the Crossrail
project. People have got swept up into this in dribs and drabs
because it is quite a long way ahead that those new trains will
be operating and I think people are just beginning to click quite
what the implications may be. I just must say again and again
we do not have all the data on what is going to be happening there.
We do not have the noise data so we cannot judge the full implications
and therefore we cannot give sensible discussion to the proposed
remedies. That is the first point and the second point is that
we do not have direct undertakings specifically to this site because
the information has not yet been available to do so. It has been
building up its generic codes and so on but we do not know how
it applies to us and that is a matter of major concern. I think
we should just move on to the footbridge and I should call Miss
MILLETT, sworn Examined
by LADY BRIGHT
12166. LADY BRIGHT: You are, I believe,
aware of the general outline of the difficulties over the footbridge.
It has been a running sore between Network Rail and Westminster
City Council for many, many years and it has been a concern to
residents for many years. It is regarded as muggers' alley and
everyone is terrified of it from a crime point of view. I think
we have got the crime figures for everybody here. You have got
a copy of the crime figures with you, have you? Did every member
of the Committee get given a copy of those? I know there was a
specific question on that. That is fine and the other one is a
letter. Could we put up on the board these two letters.
These letters will bring you up-to-date on the position vis-a"-vis
Network Rail and Crossrail and what they are doing. Miss Lieven
gave a run-through of the history of the footbridge and what Crossrail's
involvement is. I would like to remind you that the House of Commons
did say in their interim report that the Promoters should simply
replace the bridge and that would be much easier to control. What
we have got at the moment is a halfcocked solution, as it were,
and the problem that recurs repeatedly in our location, that of
the interlocking of Network Rail and Crossrail and Westminster
City Council and other agencies. I am not able to judge that letter
from Network Rail very well but it seems to most of us, and Claire
will give her views on this, that it is not full of urgency, it
does not give us a timescale really when things will be done and
the bits that matter, which are the safety aspects, could be dealt
with very quickly. Could I perhaps just for information ask Claire
a question. Miss Millett is the Manager of the Westbourne Neighbourhood
Forum. Would you like to introduce yourself and explain what it
(Miss Millett) I am not the Manager of the
Neighbourhood Forum; I am an officer there. Westbourne Neighbourhood
Forum covers the Westbourne electoral ward within the City of
Westminster. We are a forum that represents the whole community
and we are directed and led by a management board which consists
of residents, businesses, community organisations, and also statutory
partners from the Council, the Police, the primary care trust,
and so on. We were set up by Westminster City Partnership initially
with Neighbourhood Renewal funding and subsequently with Local
Area Agreement funding and what we have been tasked to do is to
set out a Neighbourhood Action Plan which is based on the community's
concerns and agreed with the statutory partners, so essentially
what we do if you like, it is the neighbourhood management structure
that creates a bridge and a partnership between residents on the
one hand and service providers on the other.
12167. Thank you very much. That helps and that
is a community of approximately 10,000 people, I believe.
(Miss Millett) That is right, yes.
12168. That is 10,000 on the south side and
10,000 on the north side.
(Miss Millett) Should I just add, Lady
Bright, the reason why Westminster City Partnership has set up
this neighbourhood management structure in Westbourne is because
it is one of the most deprived areas not just of Westminster but
actually of the whole country, so the community that I represent
is extremely deprived, which perhaps we will go on to.
12169. Yes, and I believe the Committee is aware
that the latest impetus for concern about the state of the bridge
is that there is a new school, a 1,200-pupil academy, where about
a quarter of the pupils live south of the railway, and that has
been open since September, so there is a large new group of young
people who need protecting in using a bridge that has been unpopular
because it has been regarded as unsafe. I would also like to ask
you, Claire, about the Lottery money, the extra factor in this
bridge, the third party funding. Would you like to explain how
that came about?
(Miss Millett) Essentially, since the
Neighbourhood Forum has been in existence we have identified that
this footbridge is a huge problem for a lot of our residents because
it is unsafe, it is perceived to be unsafe, and also for mobility
issues if you are in a wheelchair or with pushchairs, so the Neighbourhood
Forum has been working with Westminster City Council to try and
petition with Network Rail and so on to improve the footbridge.
One possible solution has been working with Westminster City Council
to win Lottery funding through Sustrans which is an organisation
which basically tries to put forward sustainable transport.
12170. LADY BRIGHT: Walking and cycling,
safe routes to school.
Yes, so they are not quite so concerned with the crime elements.
What they are trying to achieve basically is sustainable routes
through the area, so with huge community support, literally our
residents on the phone to 50 other residents they know encouraging
them to vote, Sustrans was successful in securing the National
Lottery funding. That was £50 million of which this footbridge
and links has a share of about £600,000. So there is third
party investment here but what we need to be clear on is that
that is the footbridge and links, it is not just for the footbridge,
so what we would not want is for people to think there is some
funding here. We do not need to do anything else because actually
the purpose of that funding is to improve the other rights of
way leading onto the footbridge and then leading off it and then
to access the rest of London.
12171. LADY BRIGHT: Thank you, Claire.
Just before we go on I just wanted to set the context here. This
letter that you are looking at from Network Rail
12172. CHAIRMAN: This is a recent letter,
12173. LADY BRIGHT: This is the latest
statement we have; this is in fact the only statement that has
been made available to us.
12174. CHAIRMAN: When was it written?
12175. LADY BRIGHT: The date on the top
of it is 4 April, so this is where we are now and through Westminster
City Council, because Graham King there is Chairman of the Paddington
Area Liaison Group that brings us all in, there have been efforts
to get Network Rail to say what they would actually do, and it
has been a year since this was last heard in the other place,
and the bridge must be the only place in London that still does
not have closed circuit television, it does not have the lighting
it needs, it does not have the mirrors it needs, it does not have
any of the things that could be done quickly let alone the larger
scale rebuilding that needs doing and this letter from Network
Rail only eventually came through after I think it had been requested
for about eight months, or something like that, so we are not
talking about getting a quick reaction.
12176. CHAIRMAN: What sort of work is
it proposed that the Sustrans grant will fund?
12177. LADY BRIGHT: Would you like to
12178. CHAIRMAN: I do not know who the
witness is but one of you.
12179. LADY BRIGHT: The Neighbourhood
Forum represents the residents on the other side and you are a
paid officer, are you not, to deal with these problems.
10 Committee Ref: A64, Correspondence between Network
Rail Infrastructure Limited and Westminster City Council, 4 April
2008 (SCN-20080507-005 to -008) Back