Bucks Council criticised for doing 'too little too late' after HS2 lorry route challenge

Frustrated residents have called the appeal a 'great token gesture'

By Rory Butler, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Monday, 15th November 2021, 5:20 pm
Updated Monday, 15th November 2021, 5:22 pm

Bucks Council will challenge in the High Court approved HS2 lorry routes it said will be “detrimental” – but has been slammed for ‘doing a job it should have done long ago’.

The local authority has issued judicial review proceedings against decisions by planning inspectors for HGV route approvals submitted by HS2 Limited.

HS2 appealed and won the non-determination of two applications by the council relating to Brackley Road and the Wendover Green Tunnel.

HS2 site in Dunsmore

The Planning Inspectorate also allowed four other appeals:

-Small Dean Lane, Wendover to the Strategic Road Network

-Small Dean Viaduct, Wendover to (as above)

-Chiltern Tunnel North Portal to the Strategic Road Network

-Three sites at Little Missenden, Chesham, and the North Portal to (as above)

But it was criticised on social media for not acting sooner and for allowing new lorry movements through a village “six days per week”.

Others said the council had taken a “very important stance”.

“Are you after a pat on the back for doing a job you should have done long ago?” replied a member of the public named Michelle.

“How can the council object to HS2 movements through a main road for a limited period but allow 160 new lorry movements through a tiny village in AONB six days per week, forever?” replied Jonathan Planner.

“No full impact assessment, two schools within a mile and site not suitable under current rules.”

“It’s about time Bucks Council stood up to HS2 planning applications after…allowing a cement factory at Calvert on what was a wildlife site…destroying habit for endangered hairstreak butterfly and bats,” replied a member of the public named Caroline.

“Too little too late? A great token gesture, of course,” replied Catherine Bunting.

“Well done [Councillor] Martin [Tett] and well done to the staff and officers at the council, a very important stance,” replied another person.

Cabinet member for transport Councillor Steven Broadbent said: “The decision to go ahead and take these appeals to the High Court is the right thing to do for our residents and communities.

“Following counsel advice, we believe we have a strong reason to challenge the decisions of the Inspector in allowing the lorry routes to be used which will have an enormous and detrimental impact on our local roads.

“The council had sought further information considered necessary to carry out our statutory duty to assess the impacts of the proposed routes.”

The council has submitted the claims and is awaiting leave to appeal to quash the decisions.