‘HS2 could cost us our busi­ness’

Shop own­ers and schools voice fears over road­works

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Kather­ine Clemen­tine kather­ine.clemen­tine@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

ANTI-HS2 cam­paign­ers are pre­dict­ing six months or more of ‘traf­fic chaos’ in Ruis­lip caused by util­ity works linked to HS2.

The likely timescale for util­ity work was an­nounced in May ahead of the Par­lia­men­tary Se­lect Com­mit­tee re­sum­ing its dis­cus­sions on June 15 about the im­pact of the gov­ern­ment’s high speed rail project.

Works will be needed on key streets of West End Road, Long Drive and Bridge­wa­ter Road, and will im­pact three schools: Sa­cred Heart Catholic Pri­mary School, Ruis­lip High and Ruis­lip Gar­dens.

Philip Corthorne, chair of gov­er­nors at Sa­cred Heart in Herl­wyn Av­enue, said: “Of par­tic­u­lar con­cern to us is the air qual­ity, es­pe­cially for chil­dren with re­s­pi­ra­tory prob­lems.

“We will be hugely dis­rupted as the road is al­ready grid­locked in the morn­ings. It’s wrong to as­sume that they can carry out this work with­out im­pact.”

Mr Corthorne will ad­dress the se­lect com­mit­tee on June 23 for the school and on June 30 as a ward coun­cil­lor for West Ruis­lip.

Ch­eryl Chap­man, who runs a fancy dress shop on West End Road, is con­vinced road­works will be the end of her 14-year busi­ness.

She said: “We’re not a walk in busi­ness there­fore cus­tomers would not be able to pick up and drop off their out­fits if they can not park at the front en­trance. We need ac­cess to the rear at all times for de­liv­er­ies.

“If we can­not op­er­ate we will have to close and lose ev­ery­thing we have.”

Anti-HS2 pe­ti­tion­ers hope to in­crease mit­i­ga­tion as much as pos­si­ble to re­duce the im­pact from con­struc­tion.

Cam­paigner Lot­tie Jones said: “We want the whole thing stopped. But if we can’t do that then we have to fight for the ab­so­lute best pos­si­ble mit­i­ga­tion that we can.

“Even if it is only six months West End road is closed for, there’ll be such a huge im­pact on the com­mu­nity.”

A sec­tion of the work will take place in front of Stafford Road, which af­fects the en­trance to an es­tate of 800 homes and Ruis­lip Gar­dens Pri­mary School.

HS2 rep­re­sen­ta­tives say the util­ity works are re­quired as a “pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sure to pro­tect public in­ter­est from ser­vice out­ages and to safe­guard util­ity com­pa­nies’ as­sets”.

Sid Jack­son of South Ruis­lip Res­i­dent’s As­so­ci­a­tion, is pe­ti­tion­ing for dis­rup­tion to be min­imised.

He said: “They can’t do them to­gether, they have to fin­ish one be­fore they start an­other. If you block off West End Road and Sta­tion Ap­proach we’re to­tally cut off. That way we’re look­ing at 15 to 18 months in to­tal.”

Mr Jack­son, who will ad­dress the com­mit­tee on June 29, said an HS2 tun­nel would be the best of two evils.

“If it was to be over­ground, that blight would last with us for­ever. It’s short term [the dis­rup­tion] but once it’s done it’s out of the way.”

Hilling­don Coun­cil Leader, Ray Pud­di­foot, said the lo­cal author­ity will be us­ing the op­por­tu­nity pro­vided by the HS2 se­lect com­mit­tee to pro­vide ‘in­formed ev­i­dence based on strong un­der­stand­ing of lo­cal con­cerns’.

n TOUGH TIMES AHEAD: Left, Ch­eryl Chap­man in her shop, on West End Road, Ruis­lip and above, staff and pupils from Sa­cred Heart Catholic Pri­mary School with HS2 cam­paigner Lot­tie Jones

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