Crossrail lorry movement “stitch up”

On Carlton Bridge,Great Western Rd above canal where Crossrail tunnel segments could go into Westbourne Park

 With the additional lorry movements application withdrawn by Crossrail before the 1st of March town planning meeting and the operational approval of the right turn at Great Western Road along the Harrow Road (otherwise known as the Prince of Wales junction) from the 10th of March, this can be seen for it was always now – a stitch up against the canal option to move the tunnel linings from Old Oak Common to Paddington.

It was clear something was afoot right from the outsight, as the application was only accepted by the City of Westminster on the last working day before christmas eve in 2011 when it had been with them a few months by then.  Furthermore the contractor BFK confirmed that no effort had been made to cost and entertain other options like canal and rail other then lorries along the Harrow Rd at a Paddington station liason Meeting on the 23rd of January when l questioned them about this all.  Looking at their Environment Policy statement and contrasting it with the reality, gives some comical lines about what contractors will say to get big public contracts. For example, BFK is committed to maximising benefits and minimising adverse impacts to the environment and neighbouring communities in delivering Crossrail projects; assess the potential environmental impacts of all operations, and remove or mitigate these risks throughout the design and construction phases; have minimal impact on the environment through our construction activities; and communicate with parties, including the public in an open and honest manner. None of this was done or achieved by BFK in this instance, as it doggedly pushed the lorry option as the only way to move the tunnel segments to the Westbourne Park portal.

The Council was due to consider the planning application for the route B – via Chepstow Rd  on the 1st of March but the officers were going to recommend refusal. Therefore Crossrail through BFK have withdrawn this application.  
 
However, whilst the residents through Notting Hill Gate & Bayswater and in particular residents of Chepstow Rd have a reprieve, all the lorries will now travel along the Harrow Rd route. Moreover the City of Westminster are going to say yes to the right turn into Great Western Rd on the basis that if they said no, Crossrail would use smaller but twice as many lorries, going round the Elgin and Chippenham junction. Westminster are clear that Crossrail already have the powers to use the Harrow Rd through the Crossrail Act.
 
However, none of this answers why the canal option was not properly explored earlier. Indeed Crossrail have had decades to prepare for this eventuality and could have easily specified this as part of the tunnel contract. And no-one has been able to give us any straight answers on how they think these lorries aren’t going to add congestion to an already busy trunk road, adversely affecting all local residents and businesses. That apart, how can justify small cars not being able to do the right turn when much bigger vehicles like HGV and buses can do?
 
So while a victory has been scored with Crossrail’s climb down on the Big Table, the harsh reality is that the neighbourhood particularly along the Harrow Rd is going to live with alot of unnecessary lorry movements for a number of years.