The brothers behind the award-winning Chiltern Brewery fear HS2 could cause them to go out of business, MPs have heard.
George and Thomas Jenkinson said the family-run brewery located in Terrick, which employs 20 staff and sits 650 metres from the proposed line, relied on tourists using the B4009 coming into their shop but they fear customers will be put off during HS2’s six-year construction period.
Appearing before the HS2 select committee, they set out a list of demands to mitigate the effects of the scheme, including a bored tunnel exiting north of Aylesbury, the creation of a relief road on the B4009 and a robust compensation scheme for lost custom.
The microbrewery, the seventh oldest of its kind in the UK, runs the King’s Head pub in Aylesbury and supplies beer to around 100 outlets, but 55% of its business comes from customers spending money at their brewery shop in rural Terrick.
Thomas Jenkinson told the committee: “Most breweries setting up these days set up from an industrial unit and they brew beer and they ship it off site.
“We have a lovely farm in AONB and greenbelt which has been converted into a brewery. And what we’ve done is established a rural brewery in a beautiful location and invited customers to our onsite shop, and that is the mainstay of our business.
“So any throttling of traffic along the road will affect our income. It’s black and white. We’ve had it before with Thames Water when they were digging up the road and it cost us £20,000 with six weeks’ work. We’re now twice the size we were then. We just survived that. I’m not sure – and that was six weeks’ work. This is what, six years?”
Mr Jenkinson also fears that the construction work could pollute the water which they use to make the beers. He said that he has found himself working day and night, not to increase the brewery’s profits, but simply ‘on trying to prevent HS2 or the Government, via HS2, from effectively closing our business; there isn’t a better way, from these plans, of a plan to close our business, than this’.
Timothy Mould QC, lead counsel for the Department for Transport, ruled out a bored tunnel and told the Jenkinsons to be ‘careful what they wish for’ as it would create an even bigger construction headache.
He said the the ‘traffic that will be added into the existing flow on Nash Lee Road, past this property, as a result of HS2, is minimal in any relative sense’. “In an existing flow of 7,000 vehicles a day, each way, HS2 will be adding 240 vehicles each way, which, by my calculation, is a something of the order of 3.5%, which, in ordinary traffic management assessment speak, is something that would be regarded as immaterial, or something that is lost in the rounding, or the variation in daily flows.”
He gave a guarantee that HS2 would not close the road during construction save for some unknown ‘extraordinary event’ happening. And he said there was no evidence HS2 would pollute the water supply, but in the unlikely of this or any other thing happening caused by HS2 and demonstrably impacting on their business, the Jenkinsons could claim for compensation via the usual channels.