UPDATED: The Wendover Wall? Critics slam ‘monstrous’ barrier proposed for village

Artist's impression of what the barrier will look like PNL-161104-164401001
Artist's impression of what the barrier will look like PNL-161104-164401001

Sound barriers almost double the size of the Berlin Wall will be a ‘monstrous’ intrustion into Wendover, an action group has warned.

The barriers have been proposed as a mitigation measure for Wendover by HS2 Ltd following the Commons select committee’s inquiry.

A scissor lift shows the height of the sound barrier proposed for Wendover PNL-161204-102008001

A scissor lift shows the height of the sound barrier proposed for Wendover PNL-161204-102008001

A 6m tall barrier will run for 650m from the western side of the bypass to the Small Dean viaduc. They are believed to be the first of their kind in the UK.

Smaller barriers are also proposed for the western side of London Road and the eastern side of the bypass.

At the weekend the Wendover HS2 action group used a scissor lift to illustrate the size of the barrier to residents.

Spokesman Roger Waller said: “People were pretty appalled when they saw it.”

The group is calling on residents to get in their petitions to the House of Lords Select Committee inquiry by April 18.

“We want residents to petition and make the Lords aware of what these six metre barriers look like.”

He said the barriers, together with the viaduct, could easily become a magnet for graffiti vandals – with clean-up costs likely to be met by the council.

Whether the barriers will actually do the job of reducing is unclear, Mr Waller added, suggesting that they could actually reflect sound from the bypass to villagers in Wendover.

The action group is still calling for an extended Chilterns tunnel to be built past the village, which it says is the best way to protect it from noise and visual intrusion caused by HS2.

HS2 Ltd said it does not accept that the images provided with this story are a ‘fair or accurate impression of what the proposed sound barriers would look like’.

A spokesman said: “The suggestion of a tunnel through the entire Chilterns AONB and shorter tunnel extensions past Wendover have been explored and given extensive consideration, not least during the recent select committee process.

“We believe that the current proposals provide the best balance between route engineering design requirements, safety, cost and the desire to minimise environmental impacts.

“Under the current proposals, Wendover will benefit from a green tunnel of approximately 1.4km and we will continue to work with individuals affected by the scheme and the local MP on an enhanced package of sound protection alongside the line to the north and south of the tunnel to provide additional protection.

“The design and final appearance of the noise barrier will be submitted for approval to the District planning authority and we are determined to ensure that the design and construction is sensitive to their location.”

> An earlier version of this story stated that ‘two lots of 4m barriers are also proposed for the western side of London Road and the eastern side of the bypass’. HS2 Ltd said that this is factually incorrect: “We have offered an assurance to AVDC to support them in installing 2m high noise fence barriers along the eastern side of London Road past the church and school grounds; and 2m high barriers along the eastern side of the bypass.”

The Berlin Wall was 3.6 metres tall, while Israel’s controversial ‘separation barrier’ with Palestine is up to 8m tall.