THIS week’s HS2 announcement has brought a measure of relief for villagers in Twyford, who feared the line would cut through their sports field and bisect a nearby dairy farm.
Rae Sloan and Gary Eastman, of the Twyford Stop HS2 group, said mitigation measures unexpectedly announced by transport secretary Justine Greening on Tuesday mean the railway could now be around 150m from the closest home, rather than the 70m originally planned.
Mr Eastman said: “We were led to believe they would make alterations to the line after the announcement, but in fact they’ve done it at the same time.
“It would have been 70m from my property, and it would have also taken the bottom end of our recreation field.”
“We couldn’t have had a full-size cricket field,” said Ms Sloan.
“And we’ve got four junior teams and two adult teams.”
Mr Eastman, a civil engineer, said the original line would have been too close to allow barriers to be built to reduce noise and visual impact.
“But now, because it’s 150m away, they can put in bunds that will have a significant effect,” he said.
Ms Sloan also said a local dairy farm, which had been in the position of wanting to expand, would have been rendered ‘useless’ by the original route.
They said although villagers felt some relief, they were still unhappy with the plans.
“The village will still be seriously affected by noise,” said Mr Eastman.
Ms Sloan and Mr Eastman said they had three other major concerns following Tuesday’s announcement.
“We’re still very upset the Government hasn’t listened to the anti-HS2 lobby and is proceeding with the scheme rather than the well-designed alternative proposals like increasing capacity on the West Coast Main Line,” said Mr Eastman.
“We’re also upset that Justine Greening didn’t meet with protest groups at all, and made her decision without any reference to the 70 protest groups against the scheme.”
The third area of concern was over compensation for homeowners affected by property blight.
The Government’s refusal to consider compensation schemes means residents along the route will be left seriously out of pocket, they said.
“It means people will not be duly compensated,” said Ms Sloan.