HS2 roadshow rolls in to Calvert Green

Anti HS2 beacon on the railway line at Portway Farm Twyford.'110228M-A574
Anti HS2 beacon on the railway line at Portway Farm Twyford.'110228M-A574

THE HS2 roadshow made its stop at Calvert Green Memorial Hall yesterday.

The visit allowed local residents and from further afield to raise concerns which included the scheme’s environmental impact, financial cost and noise pollution.

HS2’s Roadshow visited Aylesbury on May 10 and 11 and will move on to Brackley today, Friday and tomorrow, Saturday.

High Speed Two Ltd, the company set up by the Government to consider the case for new high speed rail services between London and Scotland were present in terrible weather conditions to inform residents of the proposed plans.

Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) a major player in the STOP HS2 campaign were also out in full force, pitching a tent next to the roadshow marquees, providing an opposing argument and alternative ideas to the HS2 plans.

Last month, Tony Baldry, Bicester MP, wrote to the transport minister Philip Hammond asking for answers over the potential noise that would be created and the roadshow included audio booths for visitors to experience the predicted noise levels created by 200mph plus trains.

Twyford resident Margaret Flint, who had just emerged from the booth which is designed to simulate the noise of a train 160 metres away, said: “We will be approximately 100 yards from the supposed line.

“I definitely don’t agree with the sound they’ve got here. I think it will be unbearable for anyone living there.

“If we’ve got a chance to move we will.”

Members of the HS2 group including engineers, environmentalists and property experts mingled with the public and were available to answer questions and concerns raised.

Alison Munro, chief executive of HS2, said: “It’s good for us to meet people face-to-face and hear what they are saying.

“What really matters is that they respond to the consultation, because we will be analysing the responses at the end of the year.

“We’re here to do the best job we can in terms of explaining. We’re not here in a selling remit.”

An Exceptional Hardship Scheme (EHS) designed to assist property owners directly affected by the proposed route has been available for application since August 2010.

Knights Solicitors, a law firm who focus on planning and compulsory purchase, based in Tunbridge Wells are offering expert legal advice and assistance to residents.

The firm’s senior partner, Matthew Knight who was present at the show, said he had spoken to a man that morning who was a carer for his severely-disabled child, but had been unable to qualify for the Government’s HS2 hardship scheme.

“At present he has a four-hour round trip to get his child to school. He’s applied for hardship, but was refused. He has now got to sell his house and get one elsewhere.

“Whatever the Government says about the claims getting dealt with properly and promptly, he was a man who was not trying it on. It was not fair treatment,” Mr Knight said.

The consultation period for the entire HS2 scheme will last until July 29 2011.

>>Turn to Talking Point on page 8 for others reactions to the HS2 Roadshow at Calvert.