HS2 Minister meets 'Calvert Box' residents on whistlestop tour of Buckingham constituency

Residents in Steeple Claydon, Quainton and Fleet Marston areas had the chance to put their concerns to the minister over the controversial rail project

Wednesday, 18th August 2021, 2:14 pm
Updated Wednesday, 18th August 2021, 2:38 pm

People from Steeple Claydon, Edgcott, Calvert Green and Twyford who are affected by the controversial HS2 rail project had the chance to meet with HS2 Minister Andrew Stephenson on Tuesday, August 17.

The minister took a whistlestop tour of the Buckingham constituency at the request of local MP Greg Smith.

In Steeple Claydon, he met representatives from parishes and businesses around the 'Calvert Box' area, including Phil Gaskin from Calvert Green, Roger Behagg from Edgcott, Roger Landells from Twyford, Dan Price from Langston & Tasker bus company in Steeple Claydon and Grendon Underwood ward councillors Frank Mahon and Angela Macpherson. Issues raised included access to environmental mitigation funding.

HS2 Minister Andrew Stephenson and Greg Smith in Steeple Claydon

Mr Stephenson also visited Quainton, where he met parish council chairman John Knox, local farmers the Goss family and landowner Christopher Prideaux. A detailed discussion focused on issues such as bad planning and communications from HS2, and the excessive level of devegetation and land take.

In Fleet Marston, he met local farmers the Hunters, where he heard about the challenges they have faced around land being taken from them, as well as road safety on the A41 and HGV movements.

Greg said: “Every single day I and my team raise issues relating to the construction of HS2 with the Department for Transport, HS2 Ltd and their contractors.

“The sheer level of failures reported to me on a daily basis by constituents and witnessed with my own eyes - from unacceptable handling of land acquisition, commercial compensation (eg for crop loss), road diversions, road surface failures, environmental damage (eg hedgerow removal in nesting season), HGV movements off agreed routes - is seemingly endless.

HS2 Minister Andrew Stephenson and Greg Smith MP in Steeple Claydon

“Having raised countless issues with the HS2 Minister, I have been asking him to come to the constituency for some time. Sometimes, no matter how many times ministers are told of problems, it is so much more powerful for them to see the issues themselves and talk to local people who are affected.

"Whilst the Covid restrictions got in the way of that visit for many months, I was pleased the HS2 Minister was able to spend a couple of hours in the constituency on Tuesday.

“The minister was left in no doubt about the strength of feeling locally and has vowed to come back to me over the next month with real practical steps to improve the way HS2 Ltd treat Buckinghamshire communities.

"I will continue to pressure him to get us the improvements we need and deserve in north Buckinghamshire from this monster project, whilst as the same time never giving up on making the case to scrap HS2 altogether."

HS2 Minister Andrew Stephenson and Greg Smith MP in Steeple Claydon