HS2, What Next ?
The February meeting considered the problems facing Chesham following Royal Assent for the HS2 bill. It was addressed by our local HS2 community engagement manager.
Hybrid Bill procedure
.. was a very busy year - see the review presented at the society AGM.
HS2 - Why Not ?
The society is strongly opposed to the construction of HS2, principally because
- The original choice of route was ill-informed and misguided, the subsequent implementation has been very badly managed by the DfT and its creation (HS2 Ltd), and the claimed economic benefits have been shown to be greatly exaggerated by many financial commentators.
- The route through the AoNB was originally chosen to maximise speed, while DfT now say the line is needed ‘to increase capacity’. Less than half the line is in a tunnel, and the mitigation measures proposed for the remainder appear completely ineffectual. The degradation of the Missenden valley will have a long term impact on the attractiveness of the area as a destination for walkers and cyclists, which will lead to a decline in demand for local businesses (and of local property values).
- The construction of the line through the AoNB will cause massive disruption for 7 years (or more). Most construction traffic from sites in the AoNB will be routed along the A413, leading to displacement of existing traffic flows. One such alternative route (via Rocky Lane through Chartridge) is likely to cause substantial additional traffic through Chesham.
- The works associated with the construction of a cut and cover (‘green’) tunnel at South Heath will cause disruption and diversions of the Chesham-Missenden road (B485) for 5 years or more. Taken in conjunction with the additional construction traffic on the A413, the effect will be to sever connections between Chesham and areas to the South West of the route (Great Missenden, Prestwood …), with negative impacts on retail and leisure facilities in the town.
Can you help our campaign ? Please make a donation to our HS2 fund.
The Residents Environmental Protection Association
The Chesham Society is a founder member of the Residents Environmental Protection Association, composed of local groups in the South Heath area. REPA is promoting the idea of extending the Chilterns Bored Tunnel to a point beyond Frith Hill - this would avoid the years of disruption associated with the South Heath cut & cover ('green ?' ) tunnel, and also save 3 ancient woodlands from destruction.