What will the true legacy be?

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE -

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

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