HS2 spur road snub boosts bid for tun­nel

MP en­cour­aged by de­ci­sion to throw out plans on grounds of un­fair blight

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - by Will Ack­er­mann will.ack­er­mann@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

THE de­ci­sion to rule out a spur link­ing HS2 to Heathrow Air­port ‘strength­ens the case’ for a tun­nel un­der Ick­en­ham.

That is ac­cord­ing to Ruis­lip, North­wood and Pinner Con­ser­va­tive MP Nick Hurd, who this week wel­comed the an­nounce­ment by Trans­port Sec­re­tary Pa­trick McLough­lin that the spur would not fea­ture in ei­ther phase one or two of the HS2 scheme.

Mr Hurd told the Gazette: “Our ar­gu­ment was sim­ple. If HS2 goes ahead, the best way of con­nect­ing pas­sen­gers to Heathrow is through Old Oak Com­mon. The spur was not needed and was caus­ing un­fair blight. I am de­lighted that min­is­ters have lis­tened and ef­fec­tively the spur is dead.

“Blight is re­moved and our strong case for a tun­nel ex­ten­sion to pro­tect Ick­en­ham, Hare­field and the beau­ti­ful Colne Val­ley from HS2 just got stronger.”

HS2 is a planned high-speed rail net­work link­ing Lon­don to Birm­ing­ham, Manch­ester and Leeds. The pro­posed spur would have con­nected the rail line with Ick­en­ham at a cost of £2bn.

How­ever, res­i­dents have sounded a note of cau­tion.

Ick­en­ham Res­i­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion com­mit­tee mem­ber Humphrey Tizard said: “What they have said is it’s not in phase one or two, but they haven’t said it’s been with­drawn com­pletely.”

Lot­tie Jones, of Hilling­don Against HS2, said: “Un­less that word­ing is taken out of the Hy­brid Bill, his [ Mr McLough­lin’s] state­ment means very lit­tle. An­other trans­port sec­re­tary could come in, a dif­fer­ent gov­ern­ment could come in and change their mind.

“We can’t pos­si­bly trust HS2 Ltd in what they say un­less it’s set in stone, be­cause they have been known to mis­lead.

“I think for a lot of peo­ple in Hilling­don this is a cause for cel­e­bra­tion be­cause it is a victory, but we’re very cau­tious.”

Hilling­don Coun­cil leader Ray Pud­di­foot said the gov­ern­ment’s state­ment showed there had ‘never been a busi­ness case for the Heathrow spurs’ and might sug­gest that a third run­way at Heathrow will not hap­pen.

He added: “We would like to thank our MPs, Nick Hurd and Sir John Randall, along with Bea­cons­field MP Do­minic Grieve, for all their sup­port and hard work to so­licit this ad­mis­sion from Pa­trick McLough­lin. How­ever, we do not be­lieve that the Sec­re­tary of State’s state­ment will re­move the blight in the area.

“Un­for­tu­nately, phase one of HS2 still in­cludes the junc­tions needed for any fu­ture con­nec­tion to Heathrow and it is no­tice­able that Pa­trick McLough­lin has made no ref­er­ence to th­ese.”

Anti-HS2 pe­ti­tion­ers from Hilling­don ad­dressed the gov­ern­ment’s High Speed Rail (Lon­don-West Mid­lands) Bill Se­lect Com­mit­tee in the House of Com­mons on Mon­day.

Among them was Doreen McIn­tyre, chair­man of Hare­field Against HS2, who out­lined res­i­dents’ griev­ances and changes they wanted to see made.

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