2nd October 2019
Wendover’s efforts to improve the mitigation of HS2’s damaging progress past the village is still heavily overshadowed by Westminster’s addiction to BREXIT. As a result of this difficult situation, it was gratifying how many MP’s and Lords have supported our efforts to brief ministers and reviewers.
It seems that HS2 has had more reviews than the sequel to A Handmaids Tale. Currently we are awaiting the outcome of the Oakervee review. Wendover’s documentary briefing went to this committee in August, you can find it on the Wendover Parish Council’s website, and David Lidington MP undertook to raise our case in his meeting with the Mr. Oakervee.
Alan Cook is the newish Chairman of HS2 Ltd. He’s undertaken what he’s called a “Stocktake”, on the project. Probably to avoid it sinking without trace into the place that all the previous reviews went. His heavily redacted findings can be found here https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/828771/hs2-chairmans-stocktake.pdf
The Government now seems to accept that HS2 can’t be delivered for less than £80 billion and that it will be many years late. I suspect that there will now be an attempt to inflate the benefits of HS2 to offset this increase in costs, and that must be resisted.
Bucks County Council are now in agreement with us that the Small Dean Viaduct is a real threat to the future of the A413. I met with WHS2 and District and County Councillors on the 9th September to discuss this and other aspects of Schedule 17 planning applications. WPC and WHS2 also raised it with David Lidington.
I recently wrote to Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary and to Mark Thurston CEO of HS2 asking for the Preparatory Works programme to be stopped until Government decide if it’s Go or No Go on the project. Specifically, that no buildings are to be demolished before the Notice to Proceed is issued.
I write this stuff on an iPad. I write the phrase HS2 quite a lot. Every time I write HS2 🚅 I get an emoji of the damn train. It’s quite dispiriting. On the other hand, there are people at HS2 Ltd who, every time they write Wendover get a pain in the posterior.