MP group to visit HS2 target areas
Group to examine impact of high speed link
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