Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 12200 - 12219)

  12200. LORD SNAPE: You are giving the Committee ideas now, you know!

   (Miss Millett) What we are saying is that that bridge is so important and, rather than doing away with it altogether, we need it to be improved and for it to be made a less attractive option for muggers and criminals to use to get away and it seems to me that the sensible way of going about making it a less attractive option is by improving it in the ways we have already described.

  12201. LORD JAMES OF BLACKHEATH: But, in a way, you want them to get away to stop doing what they are doing which is mostly interfering with the motorcars in Westbourne Park Villas at the present moment, so you want them to go.

  12202. LORD BROOKE OF ALVERTHORPE: I can see the reason why it is used during the day, particularly with the new academy and the rest of it, but could you tell me if you have any statistics on the use, say, from seven o'clock in the evening to seven o'clock in the morning?

   (Miss Millett) I do not have any hard data at all. What I have got is anecdotal evidence and that is that the community, the law-abiding community, do not use it, they do not want to, they are fearful of using it.

  12203. And you presumably will not have any evidence that in fact more use will be made of it in the future if in fact these enhancements were made?

   (Miss Millett) Again only anecdotal evidence that people would like to use it and they say, "We would like to". For example, when we have our meetings, our ward is bisected by the bridge, so we have to have our meetings on one side of the bridge or another. You can see the residents that live on the other side, they do not want to come, they do not want to have to walk over the footbridge on their own and we have to pair them up together and make sure everyone feels comfortable going over this bridge for our own evening meetings, whereas again, if it was more lit and it was transparent, they would feel comfortable doing that on their own. That is just a small proportion of the population and you can imagine everyone else would feel the same as well.

  12204. Really most of these crimes in a sense could be solved by putting a lock on a gate, putting a gate on at either end at seven o'clock at night and locking it.

   (Miss Millett) To answer your question, yes, in terms of the crimes, but then that would be detrimental to the community that want to use it. That is penalising the upstanding residents as criminals.

  12205. I am just trying to find a solution to the problem you have presented to us. It looks to me that, if you examine it, it could be cured by other solutions. The smoker taking his drugs will smoke somewhere else because he could not be on the footbridge, so that reduces by 30 per cent the actual crimes reported on there, and the remaining ones, four to nine, would not exist because it would be locked.

   (Miss Millett) But that is just the crime element. Then you have got all the people that would feel they are unable to access all the facilities—

  12206. I am only talking of at night, not during the day. I have my suspicions that there are certain places where people do not go at night, no matter what you do.

   (Miss Millett) At night the academy have all their sports provisions which run throughout the evening, there is the Stowe Youth Centre that runs throughout the evening. These facilities are for people on both sides of the bridge and it would be such a shame if they could not—

  12207. So it is being readily used at night then?

   (Miss Millett) It is being used to an extent where people go together. They have to think about it very carefully, like, "Do I want to risk going over the bridge?" I am not saying nobody uses it, people do use it, but they do not use it enough and I think they would use it more—

  12208. BARONESS FOOKES: It is not realising its full potential.

   (Miss Millett) Exactly. It would be used a lot more if it was a nicer bridge.

  12209. CHAIRMAN: Lady Bright, I think we will have to have a pause, otherwise the coffee will have probably gone away!

The witness withdrew

After a short break

  12210. CHAIRMAN: Ms Lieven?

  12211. MS LIEVEN: I think, my Lord, the agreement is that we are going briefly to interpose Mr Walker from Bircham's to make a brief statement about Hammerson's and where they are at. I think this was agreed with your Clerk a little earlier.

  12212. CHAIRMAN: Yes, it was.

  12213. MS LIEVEN: So I will hand over to Mr Walker.

  12214. MR WALKER: My Lords, I would just like to read a short statement which encapsulates the agreement we have reached with the Promoter. My name is Angus Walker from the firm Bircham Dyson Bell. This will mean that we will not have to trouble you later this afternoon.

  12215. CHAIRMAN: I knew that and it is very happy news for everybody, I am sure.

  12216. MR WALKER: I am sure you appreciate that this is the tip of a very large negotiation iceberg which has been going on for the last few months, indeed years. The agreement is as follows:

  12217. "If the Paddington `Triangle' site, which is parcels 88, 89, 89a and 90 in the City of Westminster, is acquired by the Promoter for Crossrail, all of it will be acquired.

  12218. "The Promoter will consult with Hammerson and Domaine as to the siting of the taxi ramp that she intends to build on the site.

  12219. "If London Underground Limited has not elected to commence its works on the site within three years of the practical completion of the ramp, then the Promoter will offer the land back to Hammerson and Domaine in the first instance.

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