Mar 5 2012 By Keri Brennan
There was a good turnout last week at the Ickenham and South Ruislip information days about HS2.
Many local politicians, council officers, and 400+ residents all turned out in support or to gather further information. We had Richard Barnes, Deputy Mayor of London, Lawrence Webb, UKIP Mayoral candidate, the Mayor of Hillingdon and 4 London Assembly Candidates for Ealing and Hillingdon attend, all opposed to the proposals and ready to support residents and fight the proposals.
We are so grateful to everyone who came along and made it worthwhile, especially the ones who thanked us for our efforts. Every minute working on this is a minute away from our families so we are always grateful for kind words. Thank you to the venues – St Giles Hall and Days Inn Hotel and to all the volunteers who spent their time helping out. The event focussed on providing information on the route (especially maps), compensation and tunnelling in a supportive atmosphere.
As the tunnel through Ruislip is a big change to the proposals it seems that some issues about the tunnel appear to be in need of some clarification though.
1. The tunnel was not something new proposed by the Secretary of State Justine Greening following the consultation. It was just returning to an earlier recommendation that had been shamefully ruled out by her predecessor Phillip Hammond. (Remember him? The man who claimed to visit all affected communities but didn't; claimed to personally oversee mitigation solutions but then ruled them out; and the man now in charge of our national defence. Scary stuff).
2. The tunnel is much shorter than it ought to be and this is a disgrace. It does nothing to help residents at either end. Extending the tunnel would likely be more cost effective for the government by reducing compulsory purchases, traffic disruption, land take, compensation battles, and lengthy legal challenges.
3. The only reasons why the tunnel is so short appear to be:
(a) to keep the costs down compared to alternative (and more sensible) routes for the whole project.
(b) to facilitate the Heathrow Spurs which HS2 officials have already acknowledged would be easier & cheaper if at surface level. There are maps that suggest the spur could run from Ickenham or Northolt, or other places. The government are not willing to reveal their preferred route yet.
4. If the current route proposal continues, we will fight for complete tunnel mitigation. As we have said before, if the fanciful predicted benefits of HS2 have any credibility, then complete tunnel mitigation is easily affordable. And if there are doubts about those benefits (hence the need to keep costs down) then the proposal should be scrapped.
A tunnel however will not help Harefield, HOAC or the Colne Valley so let’s remember the only real solution is to Stop HS2 in it’s tracks completely. Let’s also not forget a tunnel has issues too but these are far less than trains on embankments near homes.
Somes residents have received letters telling them their homes are likely to be compulsory purchased in the future. Please do contact us if you can and we can help you establish whether the changes to the route have put your home at risk or whether ir has always been at risk from HS2 and also help you identify whether you have been informed in the proper manner. We can only imagine how upsetting such letters must be to receive.
Next up are Community Forums where HS2 will be visiting the area to meet with local community groups to find out more about what needs to be done here. Please feel free to send any thoughts to us via our website.
The main problem so far is HS2 can’t seem to find anywhere to host the meeting or anyone to chair it – I wonder why!!!!