An open letter to David Higgins, |Chief executive of Network Rail
AN OPEN LETTER TO DAVID HIGGINS - CHIEF EXECUTIVE NETWORK RAIL
90 York Way
London N1 9AG 3.2.11
Dear Mr Higgins,
Woodland Clearance: Grange Park London N21
On 10th January 2011, contractors working for Network Rail started clearance work on the trees and shrubs in a relatively large area next to the railway line in Grange Park, London N21. This area was an important local wildlife habitat, provided cover from the sight and noise of the railway for many surrounding houses and contributed to the overall attractiveness of Grange Park.
In the space of about 10 days the entire area was cleared leaving a muddy empty space, summed up by this local resident:
"If this was happening in the Amazon Rainforest we would be the first to raise our disapproval - Winchmore Hill and Grange Park have been ruined, look an absolute eyesore, wild life condemned to death - I thought we were meant to be preserving nature - when it rains soil will be washed down the embankment which will become even more unstable - I feel for those who live and back onto this outrage"
There was no explanation, no local consultation or proper warning given to local residents prior to the works beginning. It is difficult to convey here the level of local dismay, anger and incomprehension this has occasioned. The residents of Grange Park, via the N21 Rail Action Group are asking for a public meeting with Network Rail, at a time which would be convenient to the hundreds of residents who use this train line to travel into Central London.
At this meeting we wish to ask the following questions:
• What exactly are the reasons for the works?
• Why has such a large space been cleared if the reason for the clearance is track safety?
• What are Network Rail's plans for the area?
Will the area be concreted over?
How will this affect properties in the flood plain?
Will some of the land be developed?
• Will there be further clearance in the area?
• Does Network rail have a wider plan it is not making public? eg the reduction of passenger services and an increase in freight traffic?
• Did Network Rail take any steps at all to minimise disruption to the woodland or the local area? If so, what?
• Will Network Rail assure us that it will undertake a full re-planting programme in accordance with its vegetation policy as published on its website, and involve the local community in that programme?
We believe that Network Rail as a matter of corporate responsibility and, in particular, as a public body, has certain duties and a corporate responsibility in regard to the the communities and residents who live along their railway lines. We wish to communicate to Network Rail the hurt, anger and upset they have caused the local residents, We are owed a full explanation of the reasons for the drastic action taken; and we wish to know what drastic action should have been necessary and what remedial action is planned to restore the area to the satisfaction of our local community.
This requires a public meeting at a time at which most residents can attend.
N21 Rail Action Group