Protesters out as HS2 works begin at Great Missenden link road
Great Missenden residents are protesting as HS2 contractors move in to fell ancient trees close to the village's link road.
Some of the trees due to be chopped down are older than the village, and in the week that the outcome of the Oakervee Review could result in HS2 being scrapped entirely, residents are working hard to try and halt works in the area.
The link road works are part of the HS2 mitigation package which was agreed with Bucks County Council several years ago.
A briefing document on the county council's website reads: "This haul road will open up access to the ‘trace’ line of the railway and mean that as much HS2 construction traffic as possible can be kept off of public roads.
"Local county councillor Peter Martin together with Great Missenden Parish Council and Buckinghamshire County Council pressed HS2 Ltd hard for night working for all the works to minimise the impact on residents, local businesses and commuters. However, some noisier works will have to be undertaken during the day and all the work will be phased."
Buckinghamshire County Council chiefs say they have been 'liaising with HS2 Ltd and its contractors for the past 14 months to try to ensure that disruption from the traffic management system during construction works is minimised.'
However, owing to the timing of the Oakervee HS2 review, the County Council formally asked HS2 Ltd to cease the works at Great Missenden until the results of the review are made public.
Dame Cheryl Gillan MP, local councillors and The Chilterns Conservation Board have also written and asked that the Government pause these works. A local petition with almost 3,000 signatures has also been submitted to Government.
On Thursday (10 October) the County Council says it was told the works would go ahead, as directed by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, with a start on Tuesday 15 October.
Mark Shaw, Deputy Leader and Transport Cabinet Member, said: “We pressed the Government to cease HS2 preliminary works in the county pending the outcome of the Oakervee review, and we also urged a stop to the works in Great Missenden. I’m very disappointed our requests have fallen on deaf ears.”Great Missenden Parish Council were equally perturbed. In a statement they said: "In spite of protestations from local councillors, residents and businesses the roadworks are to continue unchanged with the felling of some mature trees, regardless of whether the Oakervee review decides to support the continuation of the HS2 project or not."
In September, HS2 Ltd and their contractors, Fusion, sent a letter to local residents and businesses in Great Missenden informing them of the roadworks. They also invited residents and businesses to an information event on 3 October.
More than 300 people attended that event to express their views and concerns about the works and fears that the one way traffic management system, which will be in place for around 17 weeks, would cause major congestion in the area.There was also concern that widening works on Link Road would mean that a number of mature trees would have to be cut down to facilitate the work, and at a time when the Government is undertaking a 'go' or 'no go' review of the whole HS2 project.