Successful HS2 Site Visit
- HS2 Select Committee MPs visited Ickenham, Harefield and Ruislip to see impact of HS2
- They were given a tour of HOAC
- Good opportunity to argue for a tunnel extension
- Alternative site for the rail head at the Ruislip London Underground Depot was also viewed
- Day was invaluable to the Committee members before petitions are heard
On Thursday 15 January, I was pleased to welcome MPs from the HS2 Select Committee to Harefield, Ickenham and Ruislip to see for themselves the impact the HS2 project will have on the area.
The Select Committee on the High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill was appointed last April 2014 after the Second Reading in Parliament. The specially appointed Select Committee, made up of MPs, provides individuals and bodies directly affected by the project with the opportunity to object to specific proposals and to seek changes.
The Committee were making this visit ahead of hearing petitions in Parliament from those affected. On the visit four members of the Committee, Chairman Robert Syms MP, Ian Mearns MP, Henry Bellingham MP and Mike Thornton MP were met by the London Borough of Hillingdon and delegations from the communities affected to explain how the project will affect the area and what measures they would like to see taken to mitigate the damage done by the project.
More details of the HS2 Select Committee and its role can be found here
It was also the perfect opportunity to set out our arguments for a tunnel extension and to highlight LBH’s recently published independent study which shows that the tunnel is both feasible and a viable alternative. You can read the report here here
With the help of Hillingdon Council, and Ickenham and Harefield Resident Associations the Committee members got to see as much of the affected area as possible. This included various constructions sites, the electricity substation in South Harefield and the areas where HS2 plan to dump soil. They were also able to travel the construction routes to see for themselves what the likely impact will be on local roads. The day included visits to:
Grand Union Canal Bridge and Marina
The Committee stopped in the car park of the Marina and walked to the Grand Union Canal Bridge to see the impact of the proposed viaduct on the canal and surrounding area. It was so good to see so many residents out in force.
Old Orchard Pub
Next the route took us to the Old Orchard Pub car park where the Committee members were able to see Broadwater Lake and also have discussions with the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust (HMWT) over the impact that HS2 would have on the many species of birds and other local wildlife that habitat the area. The Committee MPs also got the opportunity to meet Harefield village petitioners to hear their concerns.
The HS2 Committee MPs spent a good deal of time at HOAC with Jeff Creek giving them a tour of the site and all the activities on offer. HOAC representatives were able to tell of their concerns about the loss of amenity to the area and what a vital centre it is to the young in the area. They also visited Hillingdon Rowing Club.
West London Composting
Next, the Committee headed to the West London Composting where they could view the location of the sustainable placement site and hear the concerns of the compositing site operators about the impact of scheme on their business.
Brackenbury House, Breakspear road south
Having travelled along Breakspear Road South with Brian Adams explaining the construction traffic implications on the local road, the Committee MPs got to see the view from the back of the Grade II listed Brackenbury House where they were shown the site of the of the Northolt Tunnel and earthworks main compound site of the rail head.
A great many people had turned out to meet the MPs on the Greenway in Ickenham to explain local residents’ concerns about the impact on residential properties.
West Ruislip Depot
The Committee’s last few stops were in Ruislip, at the point of the tunnel portal near to West Ruislip station and along a route to Ruislip High Street, which is threatened by the addition of HGVs during the seven-year construction of the line.
The final stop was for the Committee to view the suggested site for the relocation of the proposed rail head on London Underground Depot.
The Committee went away with a good sense of the implication of HS2 on the local area, and residents were able to speak to the MPs face to face and communicate their genuine concerns. The day was invaluable to the Committee ahead of petitions being heard. I would like to congratulate all those involved in planning an excellent visit and a big thank you to those who were able to come out and show their support for Ickenham, Harefield and Ruislip.
Robert Syms MP, Chairman of the HS2 Select Committee said, “I am delighted the other Committee members and I were able to visit Harefield and Ickenham on Monday and meet with those affected. I hope that we will be able to resolve many of the issues raised without the need for the petitioners to actually come before the Committee in Parliament. However, if this is not the case, then we now have a very good idea of the issues and concerns and will look forward to seeing them at the committee hearings.”
‘It was a pleasure to visit the area and to meet those affected and I would like to commend all concerned on planning an informative and well-structured event.’
More details about the visit can be read here
My next step is to organise a meeting with the HS2 Committee Clerk to explain to residents the petition process and help prepare them for standing in front of the HS2 Select Committee.