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HS2: Works begin in Aylesbury & Great Missenden

HS2: Works begin in Aylesbury & Great Missenden

Published by Dan Gooding at 5:44am 15th October 2019. (Updated at 5:27pm 15th October 2019)

More work for HS2 starts in Buckinghamshire today, despite a 3,000 signature-strong petition and pleas from our council, an MP and conservationists.

All of them want construction to be put on hold in Great Missenden because of the the review into the project.

But it's going ahead anyway, with BCC and MP Cheryl Gillan voicing their disappointment.

Workers have also turned up on Fairford Leys in Aylesbury, with the Parish Council there also unhappy.

Also today:

Great Missenden

Link road,  Great  Missenden
Link Road in Great Missenden is being widened

Buckinghamshire County Council has been liaising with HS2 Ltd and its contractors for the past 14 months to try to ensure that disruption from the traffic management system during construction works is minimised.

However, owing to the timing of the Oakervee HS2 review, the County Council formally asked HS2 Ltd to cease the works at Great Missenden until the results of the review are made public.

Dame Cheryl Gillan MP, local councillors and The Chilterns Conservation Board have also written and asked that the Government pause these works.

A local petition with almost 3,000 signatures has also been submitted to Government.

On Thursday (10 October) the County Council was told the works would go ahead, as directed by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, with a start on Tuesday 15 October.

Mark Shaw, Deputy Leader and Transport Cabinet Member, said:

"We pressed the Government to cease HS2 preliminary works in the county pending the outcome of the Oakervee review, and we also urged a stop to the works in Great Missenden. I'm very disappointed our requests have fallen on deaf ears."

Overnight, people living there, along with Stop HS2 and Extinction Rebellion are tonight sleeping out on the Link Road in an attempt to stop road widening work.

The road widening is part of the preparations for HS2 and will result in the felling of at least nine mature  trees, some hundreds of years old.

Commenting on the protest, organiser and local resident  Liz Crossfield said;

"With the Oakervee review on HS2 due on Friday it makes no sense to cut down these tress for a road widening that is not only not wanted by residents but will forever change the face of the village.

"By its own admission HS2 planted and let 89,000 tress die in just five months up to March 2018. That's nearly 40% of all the trees they planted. This is just another example of political ego and corporate greed being put before the lives of tax payers and the environment."

Great Missenden Parish Council were equally perturbed. In a statement they said:

"In spite of protestations from local councillors, residents and businesses the roadworks are to continue unchanged with the felling of some mature trees, regardless of whether the Oakervee review decides to support the continuation of the HS2 project or not."

In September, HS2 Ltd and their contractors, Fusion, sent a letter to local residents and businesses in Great Missenden informing them of the  roadworks.  

They also invited residents and businesses to an information event on 3 October.

More than 300 people attended that event to express their views and concerns about the works and fears that the one way traffic management system, which will be in place for around 17 weeks, would cause major congestion in the area. 

There was also concern that widening works on Link Road would mean that a number of mature trees would have to be cut down to facilitate the work, and at a time when the Government is undertaking a 'go' or 'no go' review of the whole HS2 project.

Fairford Leys

The football pitches on Fairford Leys and roads around the site are now being affected by HS2 work.

Coldharbour Parish Council have voiced their disappointment at what is happening, as has MP David Lidington.

He wrote to the Transport Secretary, calling for work to stop until the review is over.

He says in the letter that HS2 Limited had given public reassurances about using the land, but now hadn't communicated what was happening.

An HS2 Ltd spokesperson said:

“As announced by government at the start of the Oakervee review, limited preparatory works on the project will continue in parallel. The haul road at Great Missenden will allow us to take construction traffic off local roads and limit disruption to the community. At Steeple Claydon we are working to clear the site ready for the construction of our Infrastructure Maintenance Depot and no significant works are planned at Fairford Leys in the near future.

“One of the biggest challenges facing this country is climate change, and road and air travel are significant contributors to this. The most effective way to cut transport carbon emissions in the UK and improve our air quality is to invest in rail, including HS2. This is the only way we will get people out of their cars, off domestic flights and take lorries off our congested roads.”

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