WHAT WILL THE TRUE LEGACY BE?
What will the true legacy be?
Some of the key points made by those who spoke to the committee:
SEB Berry, Chiltern District Council, Great Missenden ward.
Mr Berry, a long time opponent of HS2, and a member of the Stop HS2 action group, spoke at a session on Monday, September 21.
He used his time before the committee to focus on explaining the impact he believes the project would have on Great Missenden, both environmentally and on businesses and amenities in the area, and urged the group to pay another visit to the village to see in more detail how HS2 will affect it.
Mr Berry said: “This decision which you are still yet to take is of such significance to our village that I do urge you, if timetabling allows, to please come and visit us in Great Missenden. Have a public meeting with us in the village, walk up to the portal site with us and see for yourself the area that we’ve all been describing to you this afternoon.”
He added: “If this scheme is going to meet the test which the Prime Minister himself has set before us, ie to be delivered in the most environmentally friendly way possible, it seems to me that only a full tunnel through the AONB can truly deliver that.
“That’s the only way actually that you fully mitigate HS2, not just for today’s businesses, residents and indeed visitors to the AONB, but it’s actually the only way that we can be absolutely sure of a positive lasting legacy for future generations.” MICHAEL Wintgens, owner of Elizabeth Wintgens Gallery, Great Missenden.
Mr Wintgens has run the gallery with his wife Elizabeth since the 1980s. He is also chairman of the Great Missenden Trader’s group, and spoke on behalf of the 50 retailers in the village. about their concerns for HS2 and the effect its construction could have on trade.
He said: “We all have the pressures of internet shopping, upward rent pressures, parking charges, etc, but we never, ever imagine that we’d get the threat that HS2 is now bringing us.
“I really have to make that point very forcibly because really the present HS2 plan means a threat to visitor and customer numbers, which I believe threatens the survival of our entire retail economy.”
He added: “The other problem we’ve got is right now leases are coming up for renewal in the next couple of years. I happen to know several retailers who may not renew just because of this threat.
“The portal and its construction road must go north, well away from Great Missenden, otherwise our best and most successful retailers will be forced to go, and with them jobs.
“We believe that a long tunnel is the only answer to ensure our unique retail community survives.”
CHESHAM Town Council
Chesham Town Council’s team, comprising Tony Franks, Jim Conboy, pictured above, of the Chesham Society and James Burton, the council’s barrister, spoke to the committee on Wednesday, September 23.
They told how they felt the town had been forgotten about and ignored in HS2 Ltd’s Environmental Statement.
The group told the committee HS2 construction would cause issues of traffic congestion and pollution, as well as negative impacts on business and tourism in the town.
A statement from the town council said: “Because of Chesham’s geographical position, HS2 would be of no use to our people wanting to go to Birmingham.
“One could drive there in under two hours. Alternatively, one could catch a train from Berkhamsted 4.8 miles away and travel to New Street Station in a time of one hour and 34 minutes.”
At the end of the proceedings, committee member Sir Peter Bottomley congratulated Chesham Town Council’s team on its presentation, saying it was “exemplary and most welcome". AMANDA Conkey, former chairman of the Roald Dahl Museum, Great Missenden.
Ms Conkey spoke about the tourism which the Roald Dahl Museum has brought to the village since it opened 10 years ago, and her concerns visitor numbers could drastically drop if HS2 goes ahead as planned.
She spoke of the importance of Great Missenden to Dahl’s work, and likened the HS2 plans to the farmers Boggis, Bunce and Bean from Dahl’s book Fantastic Mr Fox, who destroy the countryside in the Chilterns where the book is set in order to find Mr Fox and get rid of him.
She said that the committee had an “amazing opportunity” to protect the Chilterns.
Ms Conkey told the committee: “I just hope that you will do what so many of the petitioners have asked you to do and recommend a long tunnel because that would be the right thing to do, not just now, not just for the next 10