THE GOVERNMENT last week agreed to pay for north London residents affected by the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) to have their own engineering watchdog, NCE has learned.
Residents and traders along Caledonian Road, near King's Cross Station, have been granted the use of consultant Alan Baxter Associates at government expense to ensure that CTRL engineers carry out work in the least intrusive way.
Local resident and member of the Caledonian Road traders' community group Diana Shelly said that an ongoing disagreement between locals and CTRL about utility diversions along the road was behind the appointment.
Shelly added that CTRL had originally promised that the work would only involve narrowing the road to one-way traffic for three months, but this has been extended to 15 months (NCE 19 July 2001). Local traders say this will reduce their trade by up to 40%.
She said that she hoped Alan Baxter Associates will suggest design changes or improved traffic management in the area to get Caledonian Road back to normal quicker.
The consultant will be available to the local residents until 2007.
'I believe we're the only community group that petitioned under the CTRL Bill in 1995 to use our rights in this way, ' Shelley told NCE. 'We just hope it isn't too late to make a difference.'
A CTRL spokesman said that its engineers had tried to minimise the disruption as best they could along Caledonian Road, but changes were sometimes inevitable.
'Wherever our construction works have the potential to be disruptive, we endeavour, in consultation with our contractors and with the statutory authorities, to devise methods of working that reduce the impact on our neighbours, ' he added.