Demonstrations organised by Stop HS2 campaigners to coincide with meetings attended by Transport Secretary Phillip Hammond have had to be rearranged following a last minute change to one of the meeting venues and the times of two meetings. With less than a days notice, plans for the peaceful demonstrations have been thrown into chaos as his meeting on 30th September scheduled for 11.45 in Twyford has been moved to 11.00 in Buckingham, whilst the 3pm meeting in Aylesbury has been moved to 5pm. 

Penny Gaines, who will be meeting the Secretary of State, said:
“I am fairly certain they are doing this to avoid protests. The organisers of the demonstration in Twyford had done everything possible to make sure that it would be safe for everyone who was supposed to be in Twyford tomorrow. By changing the location and time of the meeting at the last minute, Philip Hammond has caused numerous people to be frustrated with him.”

 “We really hope that Philip Hammond will go and look at the places in Aylesbury Vale which will be devastated by High Speed 2. It’s one thing to look at a line on a map, it is quite another thing to go and view the villages which will be dominated by viaducts and earthworks. We want him to understand what effects the noise and disruption of high speed trains will have on the countryside.”

Stop HS2 Convenor Joe Rukin said;

“We’d been told the meeting was changed on police advice. I have spoken to the Thames Valley Police Press Office and was told ‘We have not advised any movement of this meeting.’ When I asked if it was OK to tell people this they said they’d get back to me and then said ‘We made an assessment about the demonstration and haven’t advised them to move the meeting. We didn’t request them to move the meeting.’”

“The DfT have said the changes have been made as Hammond urgently needs to be back in London between the meetings. That maybe explains changing the times, but not the venue. It’s clear he is running scared. The worst thing is that he’s saying he wants these meetings as part of a tour so he can see where the line is going for himself, and that’s clearly rubbish. In Warwickshire last week, action groups had carefully prepared a route for him to follow so he could see the route, but when Jan Kenyon from Kenilworth collared him and said she’d been standing outside her house for three hours waiting for him to go past, he admitted that he hadn’t gone that way. At the Brackley meeting when campaigners got out the maps and asked him if he had been to certain places, he admitted he hadn’t. It’s clear that his whole tour is just a media stunt, and making sure there is no opportunity for the general public to voice their dissent over this ridiculous idea is an essential element from his point of view.”

Notes to Editors:

STOP HS2 is the national group campaigning on behalf of anti-HS2 action groups up and down the proposed route. See http://www.stophs2.org.

  1. Secretary of State Phillip Hammond is having meeting on Thursday 30th at Buckingham Community Centre, Cornwalls Meadow, MK181RP 11-12pm and at Aylesbury Vale District Council’s offices at the Oculus, located at the junction of Gatehouse Road and Bicester Road, HP19 8FF, 5-6pm
  2. For more details contact Penny Gaines on 01296 655613 or Joe Rukin on 07811 371880.
  3. The Thames Valley Police press office can be contacted on 01865 846327.
  4. There will also be a protest outside Conservative Party Conference at 12.30 on 4th October as Lizzy Williams completes her walk of the Birmingham Branch Line.


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