National Trust on HS2 Select Committee Visit

Last Thursday, 11th June, members of the HS2 Hybrid Bill Select Committee visited parts of Buckinghamshire in the area around Aylesbury, including the National Trust properties at Hartwell House and Coombe Hill.  The National Trust have written up about the visit on their blog.

In their article they say

…The planned HS2 route runs through the historic designed landscape at Hartwell, dividing the core designed garden. The National Trust’s proposed resolution is to shield the landscape including local communities west of Aylesbury from the noise and view of the trains using shallow, appropriately planted banks that incorporate noise barriers and blend seamlessly into this designed and nationally registered landscape.

These ‘Green Banks’ would fit more appropriately with the Historic Park and Garden and remove the need for separate noise barriers adjacent by integrating them.  Other aspects of the proposal include; a landscaped and sensitively designed footbridge that avoids historic tree removal and blends into the Green Banks, and sensitive earthworks where HS2 plan them adjacent to Lower Hartwell to minimise earthworks and protect Hartwell Avenue.

It is of great importance that appropriate levels of mitigation are considered when developing the area.  Hartwell is a special place enjoyed by many and valued by the community. It has been recognised by HS2 Ltd as ‘one of Buckinghamshire’s finest estates’  It has a remarkable international history stretching back almost one thousand years to the reign of Edward the Confessor…

HS2 Select Committee visit to Coombe Hill © NT

HS2 Select Committee visit to Coombe Hill © NT

They also visited Coombe Hill:

Members of the SC saw how HS2 will cross the landscape across the centre in the panoramic view from Coombe Hill, the NT took the opportunity to raise two main concerns:

  • Firstly, light catching on moving trains, especially on the section immediately north of HS2 as it leaves the portal to the north side of Wendover.
  • Secondly, the Stoke Mandeville Maintenance Loop is partly on a raised embankment and at the northern end goes through water meadows. The HS2 infrastructure includes gantries and night lighting which will impact on the views from Coombe Hill.

…Coombe Hill is the highest viewpoint within the Chilterns AONB and enjoys panoramic, long distance views over Aylesbury Vale and the woods surrounding Chequers. Once a part of the Chequers Estate it is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It was highlighted to the Select Committee the importance of this site through the National Trust proposed improved mitigation for the Chilterns and Coombe Hill.

The National Trust carefully manage this site to allow public access as this site supports a very species rich example of chalk grassland typical of this part of the Chilterns (with juniper and areas of mixed scrub) and supports the entire UK population of the chalk grassland herb, fringed gentian. Coombe Hill is crossed by the Ridgeway Long Distance Footpath.

One comment to “National Trust on HS2 Select Committee Visit”
  1. Magna Carte services demonstrated there are people in power protecting self interests and hypocritical with the rule of law being insufficient and the rule of conventions being flouted

    The statements by the Prime Minister and the Lord of the Supreme Court at the Magna Carte services were extreme distortions when applied to HS2 and flouting the due process and liberty. The UK may have initiated an idea but it does not practice and implement equality and neither has the article on about Aylesbury. People and businesses protect their interests and not the wider interest. Chancery was a method of applying equity and lost component with HS2 and with balanced interests not selfish interests. Please take each of the Magna Carte statements and demonstrate the non-compliance of the statement maker with the Magna Carte moderist attempts such as through the Aarhus Convention relating to the envionment. Parliament loads the situation against democracy and applies dictatorial methods to oust the public and the amenity interests from avoiding the damage HS2 will cause. Sad day for the UK to pronounce about the rule of law and not commonsense and duty of care.

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