Letters round-up: Appalled by Chilterns tunnel opposition

Letters stock image
Letters stock image

Critics of a HS2 tunnel which could protect the Chilterns come under fire in this week’s letters page.

TUNNEL BENFITS

I appreciate that in the run up to a General Election all that seems to matter is the number of soundbites issued.

However I was appalled by the article if I may call it that, on The Chiltern Tunnel that in reality appeared to be a rant by Marcus Rogers against a plan that seeks to protect the Chiltern AONB from the worst excesses of HS2.

Mr Rogers’s message echoed by Mr Gray appears to be that the legally protected landscape should not be protected if more mitigation is not given to Stoke Mandeville or Hawkslade.

If Mr Rogers had read The Chiltern Long Tunnel Proposal he would know that part of this proposal is to remove the maintenance loops, to be sited near Stoke Mandeville, this is an integral part of the tunnel plan and would be of benefit to that community.

Mr Rogers and Mr Gray seem to think that there will be a fair level of mitigation along the line, when seeing how requests have been dealt with during the Petitioning process further North, they would see that this is most definitely not the case.

In fact, HS2Ltd have managed to avoid spending much money on mitigation at all citing that their current plans are sufficient.

Mr Rogers states that the tunnel construction could add at least 5,000 traffic movements per day. I challenge him and your paper to provide the evidence to support this.

Once again if Mr Rogers had read The Chiltern Long Tunnel Proposal he would be aware that spoil removal by road is at the bottom of a list of techniques to solve this problem.

Such scaremongering by the Clerk for Aylesbury Town and Coldharbour Parish Councils aided by his Roll B Agent and advisor serves no constructive purpose what so ever, and merely provides grist to the mill of HS2 Ltd who seeing a community division will elect to do just the bear minimum they can get away with.

Given the fact that our political masters of the current 3 major Parties seem wedded to this ridiculous project in the face of criticism from even The House of Lords Economic Committee along with other respected groups, it is incumbent upon all of us to work together, to secure the best possible mitigation based on its proven merits, not its supposed costs, coupled with a fair compensation scheme for those who are grossly affected or merely wish to move away and are unable to do so because of blight.

This should be our aim, not playground squabbling about “if he gets that, then I want some too”.

This issue is too grave and affects so many people that we need cool heads and a logical approach to secure the best outcome for all affected communities.

Roger Waller

Address supplied

SCARE TACTICS

I read with dismay your article ‘Chiltern tunnel could ruin town’.

As far as we could make out this article was solely sourced from Mr Rogers’ perspective and the only accusation made is that a bored tunnel would result in an extra 5000 traffic movements a day.

No attempt appears to have been made to validate his claims or offer any balance in this debate or refutation from the sponsors of the Chiltern Long Tunnel.

His claim seems wildly unbelievable and I would welcome Mr Rogers providing the evidence to substantiate it. Many of your readers feel very strongly about the damage HS2 will do and yet Mr Rogers appear to be acting as the cheerleader for HS2.

Mr Rogers should provide the detailed traffic analysis which supports his hysterical claim otherwise he does the people of Stoke Mandeville, Aylesbury and the AONB a major disservice by thwarting attempts to get better mitigation.

In fact I believe the extended tunnel helps Stoke Mandeville and Aylesbury. Firstly let me explain why that is:

Stoke Mandeville would experience a drop of 1-2 dB’s noise from the trains as they slow to enter and leave the tunnel.

Tunnel boom appears not to be a factor-The main construction camp and work are all proposed to be primarily between Nash Lee lane and the corner of Wendover.

The siding for rail wagons to take spoil away and bring in materials are mostly located in Stoke Mandeville parish away from the village.

There are only 9 trains a week proposed to take away spoil/product.

The residents of Stoke Mandeville and Aylesbury would benefit from having less HGV’s on the roads.

A bored tunnel would make it easier to ensure existing streams, springs and surface water are not disturbed.

Overall I believe a bored tunnel would save the AONB and should benefit both people and businesses in Stoke Mandeville and Aylesbury through less HGV’s.

As regards the extra 5000 traffic movements a day caused by the extended tunnel I would like to know if there is any substance to it at all or merely mischievous speculation to grab a headline.

The presentation of the Chiltern Long Tunnel I attended with Mr Rogers mentioned both piping spoil away and using trains, the final option for completeness was HGV’s using the HS2 build route rather than public roads.

So how did they get on the roads around Aylesbury is a mystery which I look forward to Mr Rogers explaining.

Equally we were informed that they would need 9 trains a week to carry the spoil away, or just over 1 train a day.

So in the world of Mr Rogers one train is worth 2500 traffic movements (assuming half the traffic movements are for spoil and the other half for building materials). That would be a very long train in deed!!

With a fully bored tunnel through the Chilterns you would get the economies of scale that implies putting in a railway siding makes economic sense.

Therefore I believe that a bored tunnel will help Stoke Mandeville and Aylesbury by taking HGV’s off the road, not adding to them.

Of course Mr Rogers will say a railway siding is not guaranteed however I believe it has a very strong case.

This would not only help the people of Aylesbury by reducing their congestion time but also help businesses improve over and above the HS2 proposal.

What is certain is that if Mr Rogers keeps acting like the spokesman for HS2 Ltd., and spreading fear and panic to meet his own personal agenda he may be denying lots of people in and around Aylesbury the mitigation they need and deserve .

If he truly is trying to help Aylesbury he should be supporting the Chiltern Long Tunnel and campaigning to have the railway sidings to reduce HGV movements.

I am looking forward to the detailed analysis supporting M Rogers’ headline being published.

If Mr Roger’s cannot provide it for you to publish then it will clearly demonstrate that it is as I strongly suspect only scaremongering.

Brian Thompson

Halton

ACTIVATE

I’m beginning to like Waterside despite the fact that it draws some attention from the magic and diversity which is Queens Park Arts Centre.

The big stage is perfect for top quality shows but none, in my view have exceeded the talent, exuberance, humour, costumes and explosive performances which made up the Activate Dance Festival on 7th & 8th April.

Sixteen groups appeared on the first night (one scheduled group had to drop out and were replaced by Urban Strides Seniors), and sixteen were on stage on the Wednesday. I don’t know how judges would have separated such talent had they been in competition, and there were many who would have been stand outs in any “Britain’s Got Talent” show.

Event-photo.co.uk have provided an extensive catalogue of group photos and dvds of each night’s performances.

It is well worth checking out their website. Programmes are still available at £2 from the AVDC community team on 585301.

While it might be unfair to select any as particularly outstanding I did enjoy on the first night Stoke Mandeville Combined School’s routine for “Jailhouse Rock” (my era), followed by the superb leather-clad Dance Connection performing to Lady Gaga’s “Manicure.” The first act was brought to a dramatic close by Urban Strides Junior Crew.

On the Wednesday Pete Benson’s Doorways group demonstrated that dance really is a universal message which can be enjoyed by all.

The cheeky and funny routine from Bierton School Dance Club was a delight and Kercher School of Dance provided a colourful, all swishing tails “Cats” number.

The Urban Strides Senior Crew standing in for the Hampshire group closed the Festival with another stunning performance with “Renegade Master.”

If you missed this showcase of youthful joy in the expression of passion, artistic interpretation and the sheer pleasure of creating something special as a team make a note in your diary to look out for the dates for next year

Terry McCaffrey

Via email

AGREE TO DIFFER

I cannot let Brian Robert’s letter in the current issue of the Bucks Herald pass unchallenged.

He disagrees with my view that democracy has not been served in the Aylesbury parliamentary constituency.

When I spoke of democracy, I was talking about people power, not a cosy club of paid MP’s.

I am afraid that David Lidington has always declined to be his constituent’s voice in parliament.

In the crucial second reading that Mr Roberts mentions, Mr Lidington found urgent business in Estonia more important than fighting for his constituents.

I turned up at Westminster on the day and wished to lobby him. Of course, I had a pretty good idea he would not be there as he never is for HS2 matters.

He constantly uses the mantra that he cannot speak because he is a minister – of course he could, he could make it a resignation issue as Cheryl Gillan (MP for Chesham and Amersham) did.

This would have made a massive difference.

I am told that he does much work behind the scenes but this is not transparent to me.

It seems to me that Mr Lidington values his ministerial salary above engaging with his constituents and working for what they ask him to do.

This is the democracy I speak of. I have had no voice, HS2 is something being done to me with no way for me to engage in the process.

This is why I have seized on the opportunity to petition the Select Committee, my one chance.

If Brian Roberts has a different view of democracy, then he and I will have to agree to differ.

Mrs Sue Hetherington

Wendover

GREEN PLEDGE

As the Government’s austerity programme bites harder and harder into people’s standard of living, it is particularly galling that MPs are set to get a significant increase on their basic £67,060 
salary, given that average salaries in the area are around £35,000.

I confirm that if I am elected as the MP for Aylesbury and MPs are awarded the 11% increase they are expecting in May, I will give every penny of this 11% rise to local charities within my community (£7,600).

I challenge the other candidates to make a similar such undertaking.

David Lyons

Green Party Prospective 
Parliamentary Candidate for Aylesbury

GOOD SAMARITANS

Thanks for help

I would like to thank the couple who came to my wife’s assistance when she fell over in Exchange St Aylesbury today 10/04/15 she is a bit winded but otherwise okay, also the young man who helped as well thank you.

It is good to know that people are around who will help if there is a problem and are willing to help so thanks once again your help was much appreciated.

Christopher Lowe

Address supplied

TIME TO CHOOSE

As a Macmillan supporter, it’s very important to me that everyone with cancer gets the support they need.

That’s why I’m supporting Macmillan Cancer Support’s Time to Choose campaign, which is calling on the next Government to make sure improving cancer care is a priority.

There are currently 2.5 million people living with cancer in the UK and too many people aren’t getting the support they need right now.

With the General Election happening next month, I would like all of our candidates to commit to championing improvements to cancer care and for our next MP to act to ensure everyone with cancer gets the support they need.

Readers can join me in supporting Macmillan’s campaign at timetochoose.org.uk.

Tom D’Arcy

Aylesbury