• Wendover Parish Council

HS2 Update | March

HS2: How are this lot going to deliver that? So, we’ve now had the decision that we didn’t want, and the government has given the go ahead to HS2. It appears that incompetence provides its own reward. This news means that mitigating the impacts that the construction and the operation of this bumbling project is still relevant.


I’ve always said that good people don’t work on bad projects. HS2 Ltd. is doing its best to prove my theory. HS2 Ltd. as a business, continues to horrify the manager in me. It is poorly led on just about every level. The engagement process is ponderous and grudging. The technical and logistical expertise is weak. The buzz that a major project with good leaders gives off is completely absent. In fact, good leadership is what’s really absent. The new chairman rushed in and counted the spoons, upped the budget to £88 billion, and vanished into the background. The CEO seems to be mired in the detail instead of delegating the scut work and driving the project forward. I’m told that two of the PR team, (responsible for engagement and public affairs) are in that industries top five by salary. With completely indifferent engagement, the HS2 brand in the bin and the good people they need to deliver the project, bailing out, clearly these people are not paid by results.


Wendover Parish Council, Planning and HS2. There appears to be a bit of confusion when it comes to HS2 and planning legislation. I’ve tried to clear up any misnomers here. The construction phase of HS2 is subject to UK planning legislation.


The bulk of the construction will take place within the geographical limits set out in the High Speed Rail (London to West Midlands) Bill. Any construction within these limits is deemed to have planning permission already granted by parliament.


There is a process whereby AVDC, the current planning authority for Wendover, will receive applications under Schedule 17 of the High Speed Rail (London to West Midlands)Bill. The officers of the council will consider these submissions within a framework laid out in the Bill. Parish Councils will be made aware of the proposal but there is no mechanism for parishes to comment through the established planning process. If WPC wishes to comment on proposals the only route is to use HS2/EK or planning authority complaints procedures, anyone can use these channels, so the WPC has the same status as any parishioner. It is also possible to discuss concerns with your district Councillor.


Further planning applications may be received from EK/HS2. These will be considered, properly, under the established planning process. These fall into two main categories.


Category 1 is any construction works that fall outside of the limits laid out in the act. These submissions will appear on the planning authority planning portal and Parish Councils will process them in the usual way.


Category 2 is any works that are generated by third parties, not EK/HS2, as a result of HS2. These submissions will appear on the planning authority planning portal and Parish Councils will process them in the usual way.


It must be noted that in April the responsibility for planning process is handed to the New Buckinghamshire Council.


The WPC Complaint. Way back in October 2018 I wrote to HS2 questioning their adherence to instructions issued by the House of Lords. I challenged them to prove that they were considering innovative solutions (Lord Ahmad called it “good ideas”) to deliver iconic designs that would, in the future, be considered “sympathetic to their local context, environment and social setting”.


Anyway, these must have been very hard questions as here we are with a final response from the independent complaints assessor dated February 2020. You can read it by following the link https://www.wendover-pc.gov.uk/post/complaint-against-hs2-ltd-by-wendover-parish-council

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