MP group to visit HS2 tar­get ar­eas

Group to ex­am­ine im­pact of high speed link

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Zoe Drewett zoe.drewett@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

HARE­FIELD peo­ple are gear­ing up for the visit of a group of MPs ex­am­in­ing the im­pact of build­ing HS2.

The se­lect com­mit­tee set up to scru­ti­nise the gov­ern­ment’s HS2 bill has started hear­ing pe­ti­tions against the line and, as part of the con­sul­ta­tions, it will now visit af­fected ar­eas.

Com­mit­tee mem­bers will be in the Colne Val­ley on Thurs­day, Jan­uary 15 and will go to key spots in Hare­field. Cam­paign­ers say they plan to have a ‘vis­i­ble pres­ence’ at all the Hare­field sites.

How­ever, they are wor­ried the MPs will not have enough time to visit all the main im­pact ar­eas.

Doreen McIn­tyre, of Hare­field Against HS2 (HAHS2), said: “It’s go­ing to be tricky cov­er­ing three lo­cal au­thor­ity ar­eas in one trip, with dif­fer­ent MPs, coun­cil­lors and lo­cal ac­tion groups all need­ing to in­put per­spec­tives.

“We un­der­stand that the vis­its mean a lot to the com­mit­tee, as they help bring the maps to life and help them re­late to what pe­ti­tion­ers are say­ing when they get in front of them.”

HAHS2 has a wish-list of ar­eas it hopes the com­mit­tee will be able to see, in­clud­ing the panoramic view across the Colne Val­ley from The Old Or­chard pub, in Park Lane; Broad­wa­ter Lake na­ture re­serve; the Grand Union Canal tow­path close to Hare­field Ma­rina, where the line will cross; and Hilling­don Out­door Ac­tiv­i­ties Cen­tre, in Dews Lane, which will be ef­fec­tively de­stroyed by the Colne Val­ley viaduct.

Pe­ti­tion­ers against the HS2 bill will, in the com­ing months, be able to make pre­sen­ta­tions to the com­mit­tee to ex­plain their con­cerns and to state the need for the im­pact of the project to be mit­i­gated.

Pro­test­ers are ready­ing pre­sen­ta­tions now, as they will only get four to six weeks’ no­tice be­fore go­ing in front of the com­mit­tee, with site vis­its tak­ing place close to the hear­ings.

Hi­lary Wharf, di­rec­tor of HS2 Ac­tion Al­liance, said: “It’s a very im­por­tant time, un­doubt­edly.

“We need to make sure that our points are made as clearly as pos­si­ble to the se­lect com­mit­tee, and to make sure that they un­der­stand just how much im­pact the project is go­ing to have.”

HS2’s fate will ul­ti­mately be de­cided by a vote in Par­lia­ment. The High Speed Rail (Lon­donWest Mid­lands) Bill Se­lect Com­mit­tee, whose mem­bers will see the im­pact for them­selves next week, can­not stop the project but it can rec­om­mend changes to the route.

HAHS2’s ‘ must-see’ list for the com­mit­tee is as fol­lows:

The Old Or­chard pub – for its panoramic view. HS2 says you will not see the line from there, but you will hear it as train noise echoes down the val­ley.

Hare­field High Street and round­about with Park Lane and Break­s­pear Road North – for a demon­stra­tion of the traf­fic chaos HS2 con­struc­tion will cause.

Hare­field Hos­pi­tal, in Hill End Road – for a re­minder that traf­fic con­ges­tion is not just in­con­ve­nient, it could be life-threat­en­ing. The world­fa­mous heart and lung hos­pi­tal is used for emer­gency am­bu­lance calls when ap­pro­pri­ate.

Moorhall Road – for the viaduct cross­ing point, con­struc­tion sites and traf­fic chaos.

Broad­wa­ter Lake na­ture re­serve and SSSI – HS2 has ear­marked ar­eas around the lake for con­struc­tion ac­cess. Sailors who use the lake say the viaduct will per­ma­nently af­fect the wind.

Hare­field Ma­rina and Grand Union Canal tow­path – mas­sively im­pacted by the line, which crosses the canal a few hun­dred yards from the ma­rina.

Hilling­don Out­door Ac­tiv­i­ties Cen­tre – ren­dered un­us­able dur­ing con­struc­tion, then dis­fig­ured for­ever by the Colne Val­ley viaduct, whose py­lons will pass straight through the lake, as trains thun­der over­head.

Dews Farm – birth­place of Ce­cil John Kin­ross, a Vic­to­ria Cross re­cip­i­ent of the First World War, the blue plaque build­ing would be de­mol­ished by HS2.

Hill­side and Dell­side – for the per­ma­nently dev­as­tat­ing ef­fect of Na­tional Grid plans, and chaos dur­ing con­struc­tion.

Park Lodge Farm – ear­marked for what HS2 calls ‘sus­tain­able place­ment’, that is, spoil dump­ing and land­scap­ing.

Harvil Road – for spoil dump­ing and con­struc­tion chaos.

Break­s­pear Road South – for a re­minder that there is no es­cape from con­struc­tion traf­fic and a feel for the tun­nel por­tal im­pacts.

Tell us your own ‘must-sees’ places for the com­mit­tee to visit – see page 15 for ways to get in touch.

■ THAT’S EN­TER­TAIN­MENT: Mem­bers of Vyn­ers Swing Band

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