Archive for November, 2009

Ram Brewery inquiry: more photos and a video

Author: Cyril Richert

I was back at the Public Inquiry on Friday to give my testimony (see HERE with other information). It gave me the opportunity to take more photos… and even a very short video of the entrance.

Ram Brewery Inquiry, Capital Studio, Friday 27th


November 30, 2009 at 4:54 pm 1 comment

In the press: secondary school needed in Clapham Junction area

Read also our article HERE.

November 30, 2009 at 3:09 pm

The Ram Brewery Inquiry in a nutshell

Author: Cyril Richert

In order to follow the events of the Ram Brewery Inquiry, I will list below the links to related article and contributions you might be interested to see:

  1. Pre-inquiry note
  2. Reports on the different days (report from week 1 by  Shirley Passmore, Week 1&2 by Sylvia Harrison, report day12 by Julia Matcham)
  3. Photos
  4. Martin Linton MP: evidence (Tuesday 24th)
  5. Wandsworth Society: proof of evidence (Thursday 26th)
  6. Cllr Tony Belton: evidence (Friday 27th)
  7. Cyril Richert: evidence (Friday 27th)
  8. Jonathan Smith: evidence (Friday 27th)
  9. Sylvia Harrison: evidence (Friday 27th)
  10. and many others which I did not receive by email, but feel free to send them and they will be added here.

Contributions can be sent by email to Toby Feltham: TFeltham@wandsworth.gov.uk

November 26, 2009 at 9:08 pm 3 comments

Ram Brewery inquiry: photos

Author: Cyril Richert

I’ve just come back from the inquiry this morning where Martin Linton made a statement against the scheme (you can read the evidence HERE). I had the occasion to take a few photos, so you can get a taste. I might have the opportunity (more difficult: find the time) to give a representation on Friday.

In this photo, I coloured in blue the towers to put them in perspective.

November 24, 2009 at 12:56 pm 2 comments

Oyster PAYG on Victoria-Balham Services: easier but more expensive

Author: Cyril Richert

Nearly 2 weeks after Oyster Pay-as-you-go was introduce on Southern for trains going between Balham and Victoria (oh yes I forgot to say), I decided to give a try to go to Tower Hill.

Instead of the usual off-peak Travel Card 1 day zone 1&2 from Clapham Junction (£5.60), I used my Oyster card all along :

  • Clapham Junction-Victoria: 6.32pm = £2.10
  • Tube (Victoria-Tower Hill) = £1.10 (due to the fact that Train+Tube , i.e. CJ-TH cost £3.20 overall according to alternative price in the TfL calculator)
  • Tube (Tower Hill-Victoria) = £1.10
  • Victoria – Clapham Junction (11pm) = £1.70 (overall price tube+train = £2.80)
  • TOTAL = £6.00 (capping is £5.60 for off-peak but this is a mix peak-time/off-pick)

What does it tell me?

Train off peak starts after 6.30pm [actually for London terminal I was told that there is no peak hour in the afternoon at all]. Oyster off-peak starts after 7pm. If you do Clapham Junction-Victoria Terminal return between 6.30pm and 7pm it will cost £4.20 on Oyster and £3.50 with a train ticket.

Therefore, if using a £5.60 train travel card (off-peak)  I could have gone from 6.30pm (or even earlier!) and save £0.40. If I wanted to use Oyster I should have waited 30 minutes more 7pm at Clapham Junction and then I will have paid only… £2.80×2=£5.60 [1]

In comparison, using Clapham Common (also zone 2) to go to Waterloo (or even Tower Hill) and return cost £3.20 with Oyster. We can assume that as similar fares apply on all London Underground, with the East London Line implementation it will be the same price to go from Clapham Junction to Canada Water, Shorditch or Highbury and Islington… or Tower Hill. Therefore, you can consider that train companies with Oyster are still charging an extra £2.40 or 75% more than TfL!

Sadiq Kahn, minister for Transport and Tooting MP, said:

I have been campaigning for since I was elected in 2005. It should mean shorter queues for tickets in the morning, cheaper journeys and greater convenience all-round.

It’s not true… and it looks like as reluctant as the train companies were when forced to implement Oyster, nothing was done to improve the clarity of the ticket fares between train and tube. Not DfT’s fault… but something to look in for future franchise.

We need to have the same fares in all travels for the same zone, whatever you use: tube, train, cross-rail or overground!

[1] In how many countries buying a simple return ticket from A to B is the same as buying a full 1 day pass on all the network (same zones)?

UPDATE: 25/11/2009

I am reading in the Wandsworth Guardian:

“From January, travel between zones 1 and 6 will be easier – but as train operators will still dictate overground prices, most similar journeys underground will still be cheaper.

Cllr Guy Senior, executive member for planning and transportation at Wandsworth Council, said:

Passengers will no longer have to deal with frustrating inconsistencies between payment systems“.

… if only it was true!

November 21, 2009 at 2:54 pm 3 comments

Ram Brewery inquiry: report day12

Author: Julia Matcham

Friday 20th of Nov 09 at The Inquiry on DAY 12

Apparently the session had started at 9 am and I arrived at the time it was scheduled to start:10 am. It was eventually ‘adjourned’ at 1.30pm until next Tuesday, so anyone coming to the afternoon session as billed, from 2pm – 5pm’ would have found an empty hall. I guess that sort of thing is unavoidable but one could be forgiven for thinking that starting on Tuesday and either stopping early or missing out altogether the Friday session is very convenient for long weekends, even a City Break.

I have never been to one of these things before so this is an incoherent account of what seemed to be going on. The room was full of important looking persons.

On the stage were the two inspectors. To the right of them and at an angle was a table (also on stage) at which sat whoever was being currently grilled.

Off stage, to the left, side-on to the stage, were two rows of tables occupied by a united front of those in favour of the development. The three QC’s were side by side at the front, but most of the grilling was done by QC Neal Cameron for Minerva and a small amount by QC John Hobson for the Mayor of London.

Off stage to the right and facing the QCs were a similar number of persons (about 12) from Health and Safety team.

When I arrived, currently being grilled at the small table and looking a bit lonely was a representative of the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) Stewart Reston.

Everyone involved had about 4 huge folders of documents, the sort of size that you see when choosing your furnishing fabrics or carpet. So from the start it was clear that all I could do was to use my antennae to guess what they were on about.

Documents were constantly referred to (eg Doc. HSB Page 37 para 4.1); obviously these references were meaningless to local people attending with only a few hours to spare (although heaps of documents were on desks behind the public area). I am not saying that this can be helped, but that that is how it is.

Very fine tuning seemed to be the order of the day. Who exactly should be responsible for applying the Health and Safety rules. It sounded like the HSE felt the Council should have been more, or equally, responsible. It sounded like the Council were being blamed by the HSE for paying insufficient attention to Health & Safety (and hence the recall) while the Council were blaming HSE for not providing enough information.

None of this was crystal clear because it was peppered with references to documents.

Then there was a whole lot more paper shuffling and arguments about the difference between whether ‘due weight’ should be given (to H&S matters) or, ‘great weight’ as was evidently written on a different piece of paper! Gosh it was exciting. And then there a bit about ‘risk versus socio economic benefits’ which ought to have been interesting but wasn’t because it wasn’t really explored. Probably a lot of it was designed to remind the inspectors of points in the applicants favour (supposedly).

Then from QC John Hobson (for the Mayor of London) there was some argument about the validity of HSE recommendations.

It seemed to me the general idea, while subtly manifested, was to discredit the HSE.

As a relief came a change of scene; Stewart Reston was thanked, and a new witness was put ‘in the box’ ,that is, at the table. The new witness looked excitingly different from all the men in business suits. Dr Deaves (hope I have that right) has a beard and looked like a young version of Bernard Shaw. He was a chief engineer with safety and liability qualifications (and a lot more) and was called as an expert witness.

It became clear that he had written a document about which he was to be cross examined.

The subject was in particular the gasholder adjacent to the development and its potential for blowing up and causing at the worst a devastating fireball. Dr Deaves was not found wanting in the examination by QC Neil Cameron for Minerva. Dr Deaves knew how it all worked, exactly, and every circumstance that could happen, and the area of devastation that could occur were these various events to actually take place. He described the physics of the various possible accidents and gave a calm description of the serial failures that could happen and what it would lead to, and how many people would die instantly and the effects of flash fires. He knew the level of ‘societal risk’ there would be if the building went ahead. He knew the thickness of the walls of the rings of ‘our’ gasholder in comparison with others (no worse). He also knew the likelihood of an event was about 10 in 1 million (I hope I got that right).

QC Neil Cameron had evidently read Dr Deaves document with extreme thoroughness and was doing his best for an hour and a half to question every detail, including every turn of phrase, and possible implication. Dr Deaves appeared to be an un-perturbed, accurate, man of Science unburdened by any obligation to anything other than honesty!

The Inspectors diligently took note of every detail.

To be continued in our next…

Tuesday:

  1. Martin Linton will speak.
  2. Followed by Fr Deaves being cross examined again.

November 21, 2009 at 12:39 am 2 comments

In the press: government announced more cash for Clapham Junction station

 

November 20, 2009 at 11:12 am

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