HS2 has announced that they have awarded four new community funds to projects in Buckinghamshire totalling £112,900.
The figure brings the overall total to almost £2 million in Bucks - more than any other county affected by the construction.
The HS2 Community Fund scheme gives local communities and businesses disrupted by the construction of HS2 the opportunity to apply for funding of up to £1 million for projects to improve their local area or support their local economy.
On 3 February, HS2 announced that Waddesdon Bowls Club will receive £23,000, Ludgershall Village Parish Council will receive £10,000, Great Missenden Parish Council will receive £71,000, and Chiltern Citizens Advice Bureau receives £8,900.
We spoke to Lindsey Batham of Anti-HS2 SOC (Save Our Countryside) campaign group, who said: “No notice to proceed has been given. The community funds is HS2 buying communities with what seems to be an unlimited pot of taxpayers money despite some landowners and property owners still not being paid under compulsory purchase orders. Who's doing their books - it's practically money laundering."
The total community and business fund for Phase One of the HS2 Rail Link from London to Birmingham is £40 million.
A HS2 Ltd spokesperson said: “Two funds, with a combined total of £40 million, are available to local communities and businesses that are disrupted by the construction of HS2 between London and the West Midlands; the Community and Environment Fund (CEF) and the Business and Local Economy Fund (BLEF). So far funds have been awarded to 34 projects in Buckinghamshire, totalling nearly £2 million. Local organisations interested in applying for the next round of funding should visit: www.hs2funds.org.uk”
The official review of the controversial 345 mile high speed railway is expected to be published in the next couple of weeks and it is anticipated that it will give the project the go-ahead.
HS2 was originally estimated to cost £32 billion but the latest projection is £106 billion.
It is also missing its deadlines. The London to Birmingham section was due to open at the end of 2026 but in September the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said it could now be sometime between 2028-2031 before the first trains run.
The second phase to Manchester and Leeds was due to open in 2032-33, but has been pushed back to 2035-2040.