Work to improve the line between Chigwell and Grange Hill by Transport for London (TfL) has prompted calls and enquiries by residents and councillors.
The following TfL letter in response to concerns raised by local councillors provides context for the work being carried out and answers some of the questions put by local residents.
Further enquiries contact TfL – email ChigwellProjectTeam@tfl.gov.uk
TfL response to concerns
Esther Johnson – Local Communities and Partnerships – Transport for London
Background and rationale behind the work
As part of our continuous programme of inspection and maintenance of assets on the London Underground network, our Renewals and Earth Structures team carried out an assessment of the trackside area, known as a ‘cutting’ between Grange Hill and Chigwell stations.
This land is owned by Transport for London and spans across 481 metres. Our assessments have determined that the asset does not meet set standards and needs to be stabilised to ensure the continued safe operation of Central Line services.
Before this essential stability work takes place, we are commissioning a number of surveys to further ascertain the scope of the work required and help us identify the best solutions. This involves a number of measures such as working with utility companies to ensure assets in the area are not affected as well as carrying out ecological surveys to understand the biodiversity of this area.
The stabilisation work will involve regrading the earth (to make it less steep), and boring piles into the foundations of the cutting to strengthen it. The programme of work will require clearance of vegetation, including shrubs and trees. We will also need to remove the tree near the planned access point near The Chase. The removal of this vegetation allows the works to be carried out safely and allow vehicles to access the site.
It is anticipated that this work will take place over an 18 month period, subject to a number of variables such as weather conditions.
Schedule of work
The programme of work is still being finalised as we are still making the necessary arrangements. We will write to residents in advance of the work starting. Although at this time, I can advise that the majority of the works will be carried out from 8am to 6pm on Mondays through to Saturdays.
However, due to the complexity of the programme, there will be short periods of time when working outside of these hours is required. This is because this work will require access to the track and will therefore need to take place when London Underground trains are not running. Some elements of the piling work may also need to be carried out overnight because of the complexity of the work involved. Under these circumstances, we will write to residents in advance to provide notice of this temporary change to schedule.
Temporary site access and security arrangements
The main access to the worksite will be from Hainault Road and The Chase to allow contractors and construction vehicles to access the railway cutting. A dropped kerb will be installed at these points to facilitate vehicle access. Temporary hoarding will be placed at the entrance and egress points. The site access point arrangements are temporary and will be made secure once the work is complete.
We have worked closely with the British Transport Police (BTP) to ensure safe access to and from the site. The BTP is the national special police force that polices railways and light-rail systems.
During working hours, site entrances will be staffed to ensure safe movement of construction vehicles and that only authorised personnel can access the area. Out of working hours, the site will be monitored by CCTV to a remotely located control room which is supported by BTP.
Frequency and type of trucks to be used
It is anticipated that we will import and export approximately 60,000 tonnes of material, during the course of the programme, to stabilise the cutting. To do so, we will need to transport the material using 8-wheel trucks to the site. We anticipate that for a cutting of this size, around 6,000 vehicle movements will be needed over the whole programme of works.
Road impacts, noise pollution and dirt mitigation
I would like to assure you that when we carry out this type of work, we commission condition surveys of the road both prior to the work starting and once again after the works have been completed. This tells us if there has been any deterioration in the condition of the road. If this survey identifies any issues, we would work closely with Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) to ensure that the road is brought back to a standard of good repair.
An acoustic sound barrier will be used, where there will be the most benefit to residents, to mitigate the associated noise from the construction site. Road sweepers will be used daily to clean roads of any dirt and material.
We do not currently plan to introduce parking restrictions. However, parking restrictions may have to be implemented on a temporary basis to allow construction vehicles to make deliveries to the site. In this event, we would work with EFDC to minimise disruption to residents.
Replanting of vegetation
Once the work is complete, we will plant the cutting area with grass and a wild flower seed mix. We will also plant a number of sapling trees on the top of the embankment. This replanting work will be carried out in line with our standards for replanting vegetation, which ensures that vegetation is replanted to make the area aesthetic pleasing, whilst also promoting biodiversity.
This standard also ensures the long-term viability and stability of the land. On land owned by EFDC, I would like to assure you that, we will work with the council’s arboriculture team to replant the tree near the access point on The Chase.
Request for documents outlining access plans, surveys and analysis of all sites and all other sites considered within Chigwell
I have raised this request with our Freedom of Information team. They will be in touch with (redacted) directly to facilitate this request. In the meantime, (redacted) may wish to contact the team directly at:
Request for remuneration
I note the request for remuneration. If there is a matter that residents would like to bring to our attention.
We would recommend that you contact us at:
- Call 0343 222 1234 (please note charges apply)
- Write to TfL Customer Service, 4th Floor, 14 Pier Walk, London, SE10 0ES
- Contact us at https://tfl.gov.uk/help-and-contact/
We are still finalising the detail and therefore consider that it would be more productive to meet once this has been arranged. However, I would like to assure you that, while the cutting site is on land owned by TfL, we are committed to working closely with EFDC to minimise disruption to residents, while also mitigating the environmental impact.