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Warnings re-emerge over Crossrail threat to historic buildings

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Serious concerns over the affect that the London Crossrail construction project could have on the capital's heritage have re-emerged this week.

Petitions sent to the House of Commons on the Crossrail Bill make it clear that both landowners and conservation groups fear the possibility of severe subsidence on buildings such as the Barbican and Spitalfields Market.

The groups warn that the tunnelling techniques proposed could cause many of the capital's buildings to collapse.

Other historic buildings that could be damaged include: Seifert's famous Centre Point tower on Tottenham Court Road and the Smithfield Meat Market.

Petitioners include Hammersons, which owns Spitalfields Market, and the Barbican Residents Association.

'Your petitions are concerned about settlement effects on their properties,' the Hammersons petition reads. 'Your petitioners have engaged expert advisors, who envisage damage to Bishop's Square, Spitalfields and the Fruit and Wool Exchange.

'Your petitioners are concerned that the condition of their properties will deteriorate as a result of the works.'

Additionally, other property owners have also sent petitions warning of the potential subsidence, including Grosvenor and the Great Portland Estate, both of whom own vast numbers of historic buildings in Central London.

'The tunnelling of underground station boxes and related facilities is proposed to be carried out using the Sprayed Concrete Lining method, which has been attributed to a number of collapses in the past,' the Great Portland Estate petition reads.

'Your petitioner seeks assurance that this technique is to be carried out correctly and seeks to ensure that an appropriate review of the methodology is carried out,' it adds.

by Ed Dorrell

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