This post was first published by Hillingdon Against HS2
At the end of a week packed with speculation about the future of the HS2 project and rumours about the third runway at Heathrow, HS2 Ltd. Have shocked residents and action groups yet again by…
…suddenly announcing part of Phase 2 of the HS2 route by unceremoniously plonking a map on a table. This, despite the official announcement of phase 2 by the Secretary of State being delayed till the autumn.
After over 2 years of uncertainty and 11 options on the table, at a community forum last week HS2 Ltd. told a community forum that a Heathrow Spur (link) will be built in Ickenham, NW London. Near homes, schools and a playground, causing years of construction misery and an eternity of noise and disruption for residents who already face the 576 trains a day passing close to their homes at 250mph.
HS2 Ltd. officials at the meeting in Ruislip stated they knew nothing about any other spurs (i.e. where the link will join up to) or where it will go. When asked for more detail they stated “what does it matter?” Obviously they don’t understand the meaning of community.
Meanwhile just 3 miles up the road on the same time at the same time their colleagues contradicted them by telling another group that the other end of the Spur will be in Denham. Apparently Denham is “lucky” as they were told this section of the route will be tunnelled, and that Justine Greening had given special permission for them to be told about this section of the route. Ickenham doesn’t get a tunnel.
Frank Partridge, Chair of Denham Against HS2 said; “While some local residents will be relieved that the spur will not slice through parts of Denham, and there’s a reprieve for the aerodrome and golf club, the construction area near the M25 where the spur enters a tunnel will produce a vast amount of noise, pollution and damage to the green belt. Meanwhile, our campaign remains focused on stopping the mainline between London and Birmingham, which would scotch the Heathrow spur at birth.”
We believe both spurs will meet and head to Heathrow North station (according to plans for this route from 2010) – which doesn’t exist and does not appear on any maps. Yet.
So, why not then tell everyone else about the phase 2 of the route, in Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and Cheshire and how it will be built. Why does Denham get special treatment? Probably because it gets a tunnel so HS2 think this is good news to people – reports suggest there will be no tunnels in phase 2 (the Y route) so we doubt elsewhere will be that “lucky”.
All of this costs £7 billion – for a short bit of infrastructure built to negotiate 3 motorways (aaahh now the tunnel makes sense) to link a new line 4 miles north of Heathrow to Heathrow, so 1 train an hour can be sent to Birmingham.
With the economic, business, capacity and environmental case for HS2 in tatters how anyone can think this is the future we have no idea.
Penny Gaines, chair of Stop HS2 says “It’s concerning that decisions may have been made but the plans are being kept secret from the people who will be directly affected. People who may be affected by the Heathrow link are in a state of complete uncertainty, and this has been blighting their lives for ages. If the HS2 Ltd staff did show the official plans, they should be released as soon as possible so that they can be put under proper scrutiny by the people who know the areas concerned.”
“However, if these were not the official plans, it is just another example of careless and cack-handed behaviour by HS2 Ltd staff. They have consistantly shown an amazing arrogance and disdain for ordinary members of the public, seemingly unaware that their HS2 proposal is causing a huge of stress to large numbers of people.”
If you live close by please do contact Hillingdon Against HS2 and we will do our best to share what we know with you.