Stoke Mandeville Parish Council chairperson on HS2: "The more it's delayed, the more chance we have of stopping HS2"
Jenny Hunt, chairperson of Stoke Mandeville Parish Council has spoken to the Bucks Herald about the devastating effects HS2 is set to have on the picturesque parish.
The Parish Council have been campaigning for mitigation for seven years after protesting again the proposals since 2010 when the High Speed Rail Scheme was first announced.
A Stoke Mandeville Action Group [SMAG] was established in the early days to help campaign against HS2 on behalf of the Community.
Together they have scored some victories in their campaigning, having initially been faced with two huge flyover roads going on top of the HS2 route in the village .
With help from Bucks County Council, as the local highways authority, they initiated an alternative relief road which should help to ameliorate some of the construction works facing the Parish as well as giving protection for the future and aiding ‘’blue light’ services travelling between Aylesbury and High Wycombe..
They also secured increased screening, barriers and soundproofing throughout as well as receiving assurances about future signage and access to the Goat Farm Centre for traders which is so important during this period of construction.
The Parish Council campaigned hard for a 'green tunnel' behind Hawkslade, because of the extreme effects HS2 would have on local residents. However this was turned down by HS2 Ltd partially due to underwater streams and cost.
Jenny Hunt said: "It's been a long process that's seen us visit the House of Commons several times to state our case at meetings organised for us by David Lidington MP and also to present our Petition to both the House of Commons and House of Lords.
"We were really disappointed not to help secure a green tunnel for the people of Hawskalde "
Despite these successes in the campaign, Jenny does not understate the devastating effect the project will have on Stoke Mandeville.
She said: "I can't describe the sadness and anger which the Parish Council and our residents went through when the scheme was initially announced. That feeling and anger is still there."
"It will devastate the Parish.“
"We realised very quickly after two years that HS2 and the government were not listening to our protests, no matter how vocal we were. So we reluctantly switched to trying for mitigation and secured the relief road”.
“Our attention is now drawn to securing a final resting place for the remains of many thousands of people buried in the 12c abandoned St.Mary’s Church site over which the train will travel and which is currently being excavated by HS2 contractors with whom we are working. We want these remains to be reburied within the village where these former residents lived and worked. “
"However, with all the uncertainty and what appears to be a change in political opinion on the project - a door has opened. Maybe we can all get it scrapped."