There have been some developments since the last update at the Committee meeting on the 17th March and the dedicated update meeting on the 3rd March.
We have now had a site meeting on the 20th March with Network Rail, which was brokered and attended by, Anas Sarwar, MP. So many thanks to him and his team for setting this up and for supporting us in getting NR to answer at least some of the questions we have asked! We walked the full length of Moray Place for the visit. Key information we have obtained is:
1. The reason that the fence is to be erected is to satisfy NR’s legal duty to ensure that no one can get onto the line. Their main worry at the moment seems to be that a child/children could get onto the line.
The proximity of schools is a major factor in their risk assessment – which we got a copy of on the day of the site visit. The number of incidents of trespass is also pertinent to the level of risk assigned – but NR could not tell us what these were.
2. There is to be no fence erected on the Darnley Road side of the track. The stone wall is deemed to be an adequate barrier. We did point out that in fact it is easier to get onto the line on that side, as the wall at points is very low and of course there is the low gate and steps that NR so handily installed!
3. The intention is to remove the wooden fencing from where it begins at the end of the stone wall approximately opposite Number 7/8 Moray Place. They are going to replace the gate giving access to the line at this point, too.
Then NR intend to install the 1.8m weldmesh fence from that point all the way along Moray Place, removing vegetation as necessary to do so. The fence will abut each side of the pedestrian bridge. It was pointed out that this would undoubtedly make it very easy for anyone who wanted access to the line, as the construction of the bridge side panels make very convenient footholds.
4. NR were clear that the fence would run along their boundary line, though they were unable to clarify exactly where that is! A map was produced with a line drawn along it, but it was completely inadequate in showing the level of detail we would want. Indeed, it didn’t show anything at all! It was pointed out that the issue of the boundary is crucial, as any fence they intend to erect, could compromise the property rights of those who live opposite the line.
5. NR do not intend to remove the black, hooped topped fence that runs on the road edge from the pedestrian footbridge to approximately number 50 Moray Place. They intend to erect any new fencing about three feet in from it towards the rail line. It was pointed out that the installation of any new fencing along this stretch would lead inevitably to the removal of most, if not all of the vegetation. NR claim that this is not the case and they only intend to ‘prune’ as necessary to allow the installation of any new fencing and perhaps move the fence closer or further away to accommodate some trees.
Apart from not being convinced that the installation of a 1.8m high fence in such a position would only require the ‘pruning’ of existing trees and vegetation, it was noted to them that this would have implications for property and boundary rights, as well as vegetation management. NR noted that they do not intend to repair or maintain the black, hooped top fence.
6. There was no clarity on vegetation removal, other than what has been noted in 5. above. They did note that if any vegetation (which of course includes all the trees along Moray Place) is removed, they have no plans for re-planting. They also noted that there are no dead or diseased trees identified for removal, but two trees would be removed to allow the fence to go in. A private contractor is to do any removal work, though we do not know which one. NR also noted that they have applied for a road closure to do the work, though they are not planning to do anything before the Autumn.
NR were resistant to alternative siting of any fence i.e. closer to the line, where it would be less visually intrusive and which would not require the removal of as much vegetation. I must say that Anas Sarwar tried hard to persuade them of this course of action! But they insisted that the fence should run along their boundary line. They were also not persuaded about planting suitable species to form a vegetation barrier all along Moray Place, even though it was pointed out to them that their website notes this as a viable and acceptable type of barrier! However, they did note that a lower fence (1.4m) could be put in and/or a different type – palisade.
The representatives from NR who attended the site visit were: John Duncan, Area Manager, Lindsay Sadler, Area Director and Niamh Heggarty, Customer Relations.
The position at the moment is NR have agreed to provide the following information:
A. A precise and detailed map, showing exactly where their boundary line is and their legal title to this boundary.
B. The number of incidents of trespass there have been on the line and when and where on the line these have occurred.
A further meeting is to be arranged for June, the date of which is to be confirmed.
We have insisted that nothing should be done until the issue of the boundary is clarified and also that they should work closely with ourselves (i.e. consult with us) to find a way to satisfy their legal duty to ensure the safety of the line and the need to honour environmental and conservation principles, policies and law, which we and other communities along the length of the railway line also need to have upheld.
Many thanks to Ann and Andrew Downie who set up and ran a stall at our Spring Fling event yesterday on the NR proposals and gave out information on where we are at present and how you can help your community by being involved.
Hope you can make the update meeting on Tuesday 31st March 2015 7.30pm – 8.30pm at McMillan’s, corner of Pollokshaws Road/Titwood Road, to hear more. A huge ‘thank you’ to all of you who are doing various tasks related to this. See you Tuesday!