Graham Bartram, Ruislip Residents Association, with his HS2, plan B.
The Stop HS2 bandwagon has continued to roll on in the wake of the scheme's government approval in January, but one Ruislip resident is prepared to consider the possibility that the high-speed route won't be stopped. Reporter James Cracknell watched his presentation to find out more.
WHAT if it goes ahead? That's the question Graham Bartram, a member of the Ruislip Residents' Association (RRA) committee on HS2 and a professional software engineer, is prepared to answer.
While the Stop HS2 campaign has thrown its full weight into stopping the scheme in its tracks, and even Hillingdon Council has been reluctant to entertain the possibility that it could actually be built, Mr Bartram believes it is time to draw up a 'Plan B' scenario for the area in the event that 225mph trains will be hurtling through the borough from 2026.
Far from a doom-laden scenario, Mr Bartram said it could be possible for the area to reap some benefits from the £32billion HS2 scheme, largely by taking advantage of mitigation and compensation measures.
The Oaks resident explained: "There are ways of looking at it in a more positive light. The whole scheme could still collapse but that doesn't mean you can't try and get the good things out of it that you want."
One example is Ruislip Golf Club, which stands to lose three holes and its clubhouse when the line is built. "We should be able to upgrade the clubhouse, move it to a better position, and get them to pay for it.
"At the moment you have to walk past the bins of the restaurant to get to the first tee."
Another facility under threat is the Hillingdon Outdoor Activity Centre (HOAC). "There are several lakes we could use for the centre," Mr Bartram suggested.
"You could move the site of special scientific interest to the lake under the viaduct, I don't think the wildlife would give a damn about HS2. That means HOAC could move to the other lake with a brand new facility."
Mr Bartram thinks these benefits could be obtained - fully paid for by HS2 Ltd - even if the railway never gets built.
"You have to play the game. If you offer to clear this part of the route for so much money, they will jump at it because they don't want the hassle of doing it themselves.
"But you want to make sure that you get there before they run out of money."
At the HS2 exhibition in Ruislip last year, Mr Bartram questioned officials promoting the railway. "One of the things I raised with them was the quality of the engineering of the Colne Valley viaduct.
"They said it would be one of the most iconic parts of the network and they recognise it will need to be of outstanding design, not just a series of connected pillars.
"They want us to feel the same way about it as we do about the viaducts of the Victoria age."
Then there is the issue of the newly agreed 2.7-mile tunnel under Ruislip. "The original idea was terrible, that you could fit a high-speed line inbetween the Chiltern line and all those back gardens.
"Now it is in a tunnel, we have a whole series of unknowns. But they are about to start tunnelling Crossrail and this gives us the chance to find out what it will be like."
Mr Bartram also sees no reason why the tunnel couldn't be extended beyond Ruislip, sparing homes in Ickenham. "The River Pinn is hardly the Thames, the whole of Ickenham is built on marsh anyway and the water level is only inches below the surface.
"I think when they start looking at this they will realise the engineering problem of going over the river and building bridges over Breakspear and Harvil Road is not much different to going under."
Mr Bartram, a Ruislip resident for 26 years, made his presentation on HS2 to RRA members last month and said he received a positive response.
"It is not so straightforward for us as a residents' association because we have to represent our members," he said.
"Ruislip Against HS2 is representing one view and they are doing it very well, but they are a one-issue campaign group whereas RRA deals with a multitude of issues.
"Instead of just saying 'no, no, no', we are trying to reflect a broad range of views. Our Plan A is to stop HS2, but our Plan B is to get the best outcome for Ruislip if it goes ahead."