‘Disruption to our lives will be unimaginable’

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A Steeple Claydon resident was reduced to tears by what she learned at an HS2 consultation event in Calvert Green on Tuesday night.

Cathy Owen, aged 45, left Calvert Green Village Hall, in tears when she realised the impact a maintenance depot for the first phase of the high-speed rail link would have on her home and her village.

The depot is set to be built on the proposed HS2 line between Calvert and Steeple Claydon.

It will be about 3.1km long, including a temporary railhead due to be constructed to the north of the depot to bring in the materials, and the temporary landtake during construction will bring it within 350m of Steeple Claydon.

There will also be a construction camp for 200 resident construction workers, with up to another 600 workers commuting into the construction site daily.

The estimated construction time for the depot is 27 months, starting in 2019.

Mrs Owen told the Advertiser: “I was so appalled by everything they said, I left the meeting in tears.

“When they said they were going to build a a depot down Addison Road, I thought it would be the size of a playing field, but it’s going to be two to three times the length of Steeple Claydon and they’re going to be working on it day and night.

“The disruption to the lives of people who’ve moved there for peace and quiet is going to be unimaginable.

“There’s going to be floodlights, there’s going to be noise day and night.

“Our house is going to lose all its value and we’re not going to get any compensation. We’ve put all our life savings into that house. We thought we were going to die there.

“Everybody I’ve spoken to in Steeple Claydon is either really angry and upset or they’re burying their heads in the sand.

“If they absolutely have to build it, do they have to put a huge great depot out in the countryside where it’s peaceful and quiet?”

District councillor for Steeple Claydon, John Chilver, who also attended the consultation event, told the Advertiser he was concerned that no detailed plans of the railhead, which will be operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week, have yet been published.

He said the sound contour maps published by HS2 only show the impact of the line itself, but not the maintenance depot, and the proposed compensation arrangements only apply to properties along the route of the line itself, and not the maintenance depot.

Steeple Claydon Parish Council is planning to respond to the consultation.

Anyone wishing to express their views can contact parish clerk Nick Osgerby at clerkSCPC@btinternet.com