FIGHT FOR HS2 FUND

Coun­cil leader tells Lords an ex­tra £60m is needed

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - by Qasim Per­acha qasim.per­acha@trin­i­tymir­ror.com Twit­ter: @qasim­per­acha

THE Leader of Bucks County Coun­cil has used a Select Com­mit­tee hear­ing at the House of Lords to call for greater com­pen­sa­tion to mit­i­gate the im­pact of HS2.

Martin Tett was one of sev­eral lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tives to at­tend the meet­ing in West­min­ster to seek fur­ther as­sur­ances and to ar­gue that the cur­rent of­fer from the Com­mu­nity and En­vi­ron­ment Fund & Busi­ness and Lo­cal Econ­omy Fund is in­ad­e­quate. HS2 Lim­ited has said it will pro­vide just £15 mil­lion to be shared across six county ar­eas in­clud­ing Bucks.

Mr Tett told the com­mit­tee that the fund did not prop­erly take into ac­count the length and scale of the project, as well as its long-term im­pact on res­i­dents, com­mu­ni­ties and busi­nesses along the route.

He ar­gued that the Davies Com­mis­sion has rec­om­mended a £1 bil­lion pound com­pen­sa­tion fund for Heathrow ex­pan­sion and that the HS2 fund was to­tally dis­pro­por­tional given its length and the long con­struc­tion pe­riod.

The to­tal fund value is £40 mil­lion, with £10 mil­lion each being al­lo­cated to Birm­ing­ham and Greater Lon­don and the rest shared be­tween Stafford­shire and War- wick­shire County Coun­cils and sev­eral dis­trict coun­cils and other lo­cal or­gan­i­sa­tions. Mr Tett has called for an in­crease to £100 mil­lion. This is in recog­ni­tion of the fact that the need in Bucks alone is al­ready at £22 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the county coun­cil.

Mr Tett said: “I sus­pect the gov­ern­ment is aware that the amounts are too low. If the money is pro­rated for each com­mu­nity, there is a tiny amount of money for them.

“Th­ese com­mu­ni­ties are di­rectly af­fected by HS2 but get no ben­e­fit from it.”

Mr Tett also ques­tioned the com­mit­tee on re­im­burse­ment for the

Con­tin­ued from front page costs the coun­cil has in­curred as a re­sult of the poor pub­lic li­ai­son by HS2 Lim­ited, adding that they had ac­cepted their short­com­ings in this depart­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to the coun­cil they have so far spent £110,264 on pub­lic en­gage­ment on be­half of HS2 to ad­e­quately ex­plain the plans, de­vel­op­ments and their con­se­quences to res­i­dents who were des­per­ate for in­for­ma­tion.

He also asked for com­pen­sa­tion for the loss in busi­ness rates as a re­sult of the con­struc­tion.

Speak­ing after the meet­ing Mr Tett added:

“HS2 Lim­ited have spent £2 bil­lion of their £55bil­lion bud­get with­out lay­ing down a sin­gle inch of track. What we are ask­ing for is peanuts by com­par­i­son.” SOME of the spe­cific lo­cal is­sues dis­cussed dur­ing the hear­ing:

IVER

Mr Tett told the Lords that there is an ex­ist­ing HGV is­sue in Iver, Iver Heath and Rich­ings Park as a re­sult of the sev­eral pub­lic in­fra­struc­ture projects cur­rently pro­posed.

The coun­cil es­ti­mated 1,900 HGV move­ments a day through the area and said as many as 75 ad­di­tional HGVs per hour will travel through the area as a re­sult of HS2, caus­ing sig­nif­i­cant stress to roads as well as com­mu­ni­ties.

The coun­cil asked for the Depart­ment for Trans­port to recog­nise the unique con­di­tion of Iver’s roads, made worse by yes­ter­day’s Heathrow de­ci­sion, to pro­vide fund­ing for a re­lief road.

CHAL­FONT ST PETER

THE HS2 line runs in an un­der­ground tun­nel along the eastern edge of the vil­lage, with a vent shaft in place just off Che­sham Lane.

In or­der to con­trol works traf­fic, Roberts Road will be shut down for up to 10 years dur­ing HS2 con­struc­tion, but Bucks County coun­cil is ask­ing for HS2 to pay the costs for a per­ma­nent clo­sure of the nar­row road to through traf­fic.

Chal­font St Peter Par­ish Coun­cil’s Linda Smith also ap­peared be­fore the Lords ask­ing for con­fir­ma­tion of the pos­si­bil­ity of mov­ing the tun­nel vent shaft on away from the edge of the road. She ar­gued that the two story struc­ture would blight the land­scape and mov­ing it slightly fur­ther back would al­low for lands­cap­ing to lessen the im­pact to the coun­try­side.

Speak­ing after the meet­ing Iso­bel Darby, leader of Chiltern Dis­trict Coun­cils, said they had com­pro­mised over many points in the Com­mons com­mit­tee and that to­day they sought writ­ten re­as­sur­ances of the pos­si­bil­i­ties dis­cussed in meet­ings with HS2 Lim­ited.

She also said that there is still not ad­e­quate pro­vi­sion for traf­fic man­age­ment and that she is con­cerned for road safety par­tic­u­larly for vul­ner­a­ble users of Robertswood School, the Epilepsy So­ci­ety and Wood­land Manor Care Home, all on roads that will fea­ture heavy works traf­fic for sev­eral years.

GREAT MISSENDEN

The pro­posal for a haul road to be built from the North Por­tal of the Chiltern Tun­nel to the Link Road round­about has been met with crit­i­cism from lo­cal res­i­dents and com­muters alike.

The site is al­ready a very high traf­fic area, link­ing Great Missenden and Prest­wood to the A413 and many ar­gue it can­not with­stand the ad­di­tional heavy goods traf­fic.

The county coun­cil put for­ward their pro­posal for a link road fur­ther north, al­low­ing the traf­fic to join more safely, at Leather Lane. The coun­cil had agreed for an as­sur­ance for this how­ever this was later deemed un­de­liv­er­able.

The coun­cil al­leged this was down to HS2’s de­lay in shar­ing the sift report on the pro­posal, which meant that it be­came un­de­liv­er­able within HS2’s pre­scribed timescales, there­fore noise, blight, safety, air qual­ity and traf­fic is­sues are still out­stand­ing.

WENDOVER

The Coun­cil asked for the tun­nel at Wendover to be ex­tended an ad­di­tional 100 me­tres from the present pro­posal to avoid is­sues of noise and blight from the train when op­er­a­tional.

Cur­rently HS2 has pro­posed six and four me­ter high noise bar­ri­ers along the stretch of track to pre­vent noise leak­ing to the vil­lage.

The coun­cil deemed this un­ac­cept­able, jok­ing that it has been dubbed lo­cally as ‘the new Ber­lin Wall’. They ar­gued that the scale of the noise bar­ri­ers would be a prob­lem and that the ex­ist­ing tun­nel being ex­tended fur­ther south is the best op­tion.

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