‘HS2 could cost us our business’
Shop owners and schools voice fears over roadworks
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