On the last working day before the Christmas break, Crossrail’s planning submission for additional lorry movements was accepted by the City of Westminster for consideration in the new year.
Crossrail lorries to cause nuisance when alternative exists
You can imagine the potential nuisance a successful application would be for locals. The application will result in more noise, poorer air quality and not least, a risk to safety in residential neighbourhoods in North Paddington (as well as Harlesden); South West of Paddington station; Notting Hill Gate & Bayswater with up to 70 lorry movements passing daily through these neighbourhoods. All this when Westminster Council were originally led to believe that the scheme would deliver the tunnel lining being constructed at Old Oak Common to the Westbourne Park worksite by rail as they are barely two and half miles apart. This latest application will simply add to the complaints already being voiced by residents about the lorry movements onto the worksite for the tarmac plant.
Furthermore, the proposals will mean that on the northern most route along the Harrow Road, lorries would have to turn right where currently only buses are permitted at the junction of Harrow Rd and Great Western Road. This is already a busy junction for residents and local businesses and therefore, will do little to alleviate existing concerns over safety, as well as adding noise and air pollution along the Harrow Rd shopping parade. There are also concerns about using the Bridge, which many consider is not up to taking such heavy loads. Also, the application makes way for the legitimate argument which is, if heavy goods vehicles are permitted to turn right at the this junction, then why continue a ban for smaller vehicles? Finally, there is the southern most proposed route along the whole length of Ladbroke Grove then around into Bayswater along very tight residential roads like Chepstow Road all of which makes this application unsuitable for the area and a burden on local residents.
An alternative does exist between Old Oak Common and Royal Oak portal for transportation via water freight. We have a canal link between the two sites which means you could move the tunnel linings/segments by canal without causing the disturbance which lorries will cause. It is something Crossrail have considered when they commissioned a feasibility study, however, since letting the contract to Bam Ferrovial Kier (BFK), Crossrail have seemingly backed away from its own suggestion of how this could be achieved.
In the meantime, in another part of London (as shown below), it has already been demonstrated that using the canals to move tunnel lining/segments is extremly plausible, practical and a huge benefit for the local neighbourhood.
If Crossrail are serious about minimising the disruption to local residents which its additional lorries will create in the North Paddington & Notting Hill Gate neighbourhood, then it should consider the water freight option in earnest before beginning the main tunnelling works.
Finally,you can make your views known to this application by visiting this link.