Campaigner Stephen Hodge responds to Techncal Support Engineer at Department of Transport Chris Carey:
It appears that the facts given to you by Network Rail surrounding the site selected are incorrect.
Network Rail failed to brief Tessa Jowell MP about the construction and it was Tessa Jowell MP who made contact with Network Rail after local residents brought it to her attention. Lambeth Authority were notified of a different site, a site where the completed height would be 5 metres lower and failed to visit any of the proposed sites prior to construction and were unaware that their core policies protected the skyline view effected by the mast and that the GLC had dedicated the view protected also back in 1986.
Local residents, Park users, Norwood Park and the current elected councillors were given zero notification of the construction and only after immense pressure from the community did Network Rail agree to a meeting which they then turned into an information drop session only. Since then they have ignored all questions and concerns from MP's, local councillors and residents.
They refuse to discuss screening options for the mast that are appropriate for a woodland setting, and can offer no information as to way the 2 other technically viable sites away from homes and the park were not used.
I understand that this system of communication is a requirement, but there has been no opportunity for the local residents so badly effected to be part of the process and many of the fundamental parts of the process required by Network Rail have been ignored.
It appears access and cost for Network Rail are the only concerns and all other aspects of the construction and it's impact have been dismissed.
In contradiction to their policies Network Rail have used the wrong site from the notified site to Lambeth Authority and left all other local stakeholders out of the process until construction began. I am alarmed and very disappointed that Network rail have mislead yourself and the Rt Hon Caroline Spelman in stating they contacted Tessa Jowell MP and arranged a meeting both completely incorrect.
This is not the way a company as vital as Network Rail should conduct their services and if the construction continues at it's current site it will have a devastating effect on the protected views and park, Tessa Jowell MP and Lambeth Council Leader Steve Reed have both publicly opposed the construction site and the manner in which Network Rail have conducted the process of site selection.
Your assistance in discussing a common sense solution for all involved would be of great value for our community. Could you please discuss the misleading and incorrect facts given by Network Rail with their company executives, it may offer a sensible voice to the issue we have here.