Party Wall PRO interviews Shirley Waldron on her work with Crossrail

Delva Patman Redler’s Shirley Waldron talks about her work with Crossrail and how the Crossrail Act affected the application of the Party Wall Etc. Act 1996.

In December, Shirley Waldron, an Associate at Delva Patman Redler, was interviewed by Party Wall PRO for their monthly podcast. Shirley discussed her work with Crossrail and how the Crossrail Act affected the application of the Party Wall Etc. Act 1996. She also shared her views on the effectiveness of the Party Wall Etc. Act 1996, its failings, what kind of amendments could be put forward and whether all leaseholders are entitled to service of notice for works under section 6 of the Party Wall Etc. Act 1996.

Shirley’s started her career in architecture, working across England and even in Singapore before she decided to start her own architecture company. However, eventually an offer to work a GIA saw Shirley transition into the party walls world. Her involvement with Crossrail stemmed from phone call with a friend who worked for Crossrail who was unaware of their obligations in regard to party wall matters.

Shirley was astonished that there was such little internal knowledge about party walls and that Crossrail were under the impression that the Crossrail Act dissapplied lots of legislation. She explained while it did disapply section 6 of the Party Wall. Etc Act 1996, it did not disapply section 1, 2 or 3.

The Crossrail Act replaced the need under section 6 to serve notice on every freeholder and lease holder within 7 metres of the tunnel. Instead this was replaced by a mechanism where people could have schedules of condition of their properties and then report if there was any damage and have this repaired if necessary. There were certain properties that were protected by inspections and reports, so that Crossrail could fully understand the risks to those particular properties.

But the Crossrail Act did not disapply work for section 2 or section 1 and in fact it didn’t disapply section 3, which is the requirement to serve notice under section 2. So for demolition, whereby Crossrail would compulsorily purchase properties, they would then have to go about demolishing them using the mechanisms, which the Party Wall Act provided. One property, 20 Hanover Square, had a particular undertaking between the owners of the property and the “undertaker”. The owners, Great Portland Estate, didn’t know who the undertaker would be, in fact, it was Crossrail.  This proved to be challenging as when the deed was signed Crossrail didn’t even exist as an entity, they are a combined body of the Secretary of State for Transport and Transport for London, and so they didn’t know what their obligations were in regard to the Party Wall Etc. Act 1996.

The case of 20 Hanover Square was extremely complicated as it was a grade two listed property and Crossrail wanted to demolish the compulsory purchased 18 and 19 Hanover Square sites they had acquired. Even though the Party Wall act had been disapplied, Crossrail were relying on other mechanisms to protect the adjoining owner. The undertaking specifically requested the reapplication of the Party Wall Act to protect 20 Hanover Square. The owners of 20 Hanover Square appreciated that there was really only one mechanism and that was the Party Wall Act.

Shirley went on to work for Matt Walker at AKS Ward serving all the notices for the East and West and for Fisher Street where there was an air shaft and access shaft that needed to be constructed. She has recently ceased working for Crossrail but credits the projects with Crossrail as extremely enjoyable and informative and has written a couple of Crossrail papers for Whispers, the Pryamus and Thisbe Club publication.