HS2 select committee hears concerns of residents and businesses

The HS2 select committee walked through farms, graveyards and nature reserves today as residents campaigned to win mitigation and compensation for their homes and businesses.
Claydon HouseClaydon House
Claydon House

Families were able to raise points and question the committee as it made a whistle-stop tour from Waddesdon through Quainton, Calvert, Twyford, Steeple Claydon and Gawcott.

‘Say No to HS2’ signs were splashed across homes and fences for the committee to read and dozens of people took time off work to meet them.

National Trust fought the corner of its Waddesdon Estate Grand Lodge and Claydon House, which it says will both be blighted by HS2.

A sign in TwyfordA sign in Twyford
A sign in Twyford

Twyford Cricket Club and Great Moor Sailing Club challenged the committee to think of their club members while farmers at Shepherds Furze Farm and Portway Farm explained how HS2 could make their businesses ‘financially unviable’.

Suggestions ranged from camouflaging the track with trees, to relief roads so the traffic chaos can be minimised during construction.

Building work for the £50 billion train line could start in less than two years.

Some families emphasised the ‘problem with noise and light’ while the track is being built.

Presentation at The Phoenix pub in Steeple ClaydonPresentation at The Phoenix pub in Steeple Claydon
Presentation at The Phoenix pub in Steeple Claydon

Brian Drinkwater, vice chairman of Steeple Claydon Parish Council, told the committee the village needs a line-hiding screen to ‘protect our sanity’.

John Bercow, MP for Buckingham, led the committee around his constituency and supported his residents’ claims.

He even stopped to buy a Buckingham and Winslow Advertiser in Steeple Claydon before the coach whizzed off to the next stop.

Mr Bercow said: “The committee is not HS2. It is made up of people whose areas are not affected, who are trying to help with the real concerns and complaints, to minimise the pain for local people.

“It’s a way of differences between residents and HS2 being resolved before the petitions and by coming into the community, at least there will be fewer concerns.”