Iver Parish Council concerns over waste dump in Thorney Park dismissed by leader of county council

Thorney Park lake (inset: Martin Tett)
Thorney Park lake (inset: Martin Tett)

The leader of Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC) and soon to be acting-leader of the new unitary authority, Martin Tett, has been accused of failing to respect the concerns of some residents within the region.

The leader of Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC) and soon to be acting-leader of the new unitary authority, Martin Tett, has been accused of failing to respect the concerns of some residents within the region.

We recently published a story about proposals in the offing to fill in Thorney Park lake with spoil from infrastructure projects, thereby destroying a popular natural beauty spot.

Iver Parish Council, within which Thorney Park falls, are strongly opposed to any proposals and have taken various measures to try to prevent it, including setting up a community forum and setting up an online petition.

When we put this to Mr Tett he said:

“Thorney Park is owned by the county council, not the parish council.”

When we suggested that it’s about the people who live near to the park, Mr Tett responded:

“Well people live near lots of things.”

When we showed this to district councillor Robin Stuchbury, who said:

“The short statement I’ve just read doesn’t respect the natural heartfelt concerns of local constituents, who seemingly will have their beauty spot destroyed.”

Indeed, Mr Tett’s comments may well alarm parish councils across the whole county with the new unitary authority only a year away.

Initially we wanted to speak to the council leader because we had received information that one of the infrastructure projects that may be producing the waste for the dump site is HS2 – including some people who said they had been at meetings where Mr Tett had said that is would be.

Last week, when we directly asked BCC, they didn’t deny that the spoil may be coming from HS2.

Since then, we have spoken to multiple people who have attended community meetings in Iver who have told us that contractors have said to them that the spoil is likely to come from HS2.

Also, Iver Parish Council chairperson, Wendy Matthews, told us that she was present at a residents’ association meeting, also attended by BCC leader Martin Tett, at which he stated that the waste would come from HS2. We also have the minutes of this meeting.

Finally, we have been privy to emails between BCC members where one member asks Martin Tett the following (referencing BCC’s letter to the Government to cease all HS2 enabling works until the formal notice to proceed has been given – now set for review in December after being delayed by six months):

“...Thorney Park is being packaged as a scheme to take HS2 waste soil, and the letter to

government addresses ‘all Hs2 enabling schemes.”

Mr Tett responded by arguing that Thorney Park required landscaping. There was no denial that HS2 would be the source of the spoil.

We put the above points to Mr Tett. He said:

“I don’t recall any occasion when I’ve said that we are taking money directly from HS2 for a contract to dump waste on that site. What we have is a proposal from a contractor to help restore a derelict site.”

We asked if this contractor may be bringing waste from HS2. Mr Tett replied:

“What evidence have you got that it will come from HS2?”

We pressed again by asking if it’s plausible that the spoil may come from HS2. Mr Tett said:

“I don’t know.”

On 25 April 2019, BCC voted unanimously “that the leader should write to Government to request that all enabling works for HS2 in Buckinghamshire should be paused until the notice to proceed to main works contractors has been approved.”

Martin Tett led the anti-HS2 51M group which was made up of councils representing residents affected by the line and opposing the scheme.

He has also spoken in support of this newspaper’s HS2: Enough Is Enough campaign.