HS2 update - August 2018

Tom Walsh, Wendover Parish Council  |  Published: Jul 25th 2018

In a well attended public meeting on the 5th of July, Eiffage Kier (EK) who are the contractor designing and building HS2 past Wendover unveiled their designs for two viaducts and the Green Tunnel that HS2 Ltd think should be built in our AONB.

As their spokesman, Simon Matthews, states “you can’t sugar coat” the Small Dean Viaduct. I’d have to agree. It’s a bit of a monster. A 16.5 metre high, concrete and steel monster that stands astride the A413 road. It’s impossible for me to take any positives from it.

From a design point of view, its awkward position relative to the London Road and the curiously restricted build limits (the land available) for construction, severely restrict the options for an elegant structure.  When coupled with the enormous forces it must withstand, the outcome is just ugly. If it’s ever built, Wendover, long thought of as the Gateway to the Chilterns will have gained an unwanted and brutal gateway of its own.

The presentation slides from the meeting are viewable on the WPC website. http://www.wendover-pc.gov.uk/

Let me know what you think.

 

Further EK engagement, in the form of all day drop in style events will be taking place:

Public Exhibitions by Eiffage Kier 

 

·      Wednesday, 12 September 2018, 1130 – 2000 hours, Ballinger Memorial Hall

·      Thursday, 6 September 2018, 1300 - 1830 hours, St Anne’s Hall, Wendover

·      Saturday, 29 September 2018, 1200 – 1800 hours, St Anne’s Hall, Wendover

 

In addition, if you are a Wendover organisation or club with concerns about HS2, EK will talk to you directly if you ask. Contact Nicola Gotzheim at Nicola.gotzheim@eiffagekier-hs2.team

 

We have still to meet with Nusrat Ghani MP, the HS2 Minister.

Our supporters Lord Tony Berkeley and Michael Byng (our quantity surveyor) have met with her and so, we are told, she is fully aware of Wendover and its Cheaper, Faster, Simpler, mined tunnel proposal. A meeting, organised by David Lidington, was to take place on the 16th of July but it was cancelled. We are pushing for a new date.

Our lobbying team has been busy. Recent meetings with Ian Liddell Grainger MP and Dame Cheryl Gillian MP have shown us that while we are pleased to have the Infrastructure Project Authority (IPA) review, we must try to influence its Terms of Reference to better consider the technical side of our proposal as well as HS2’s procedures. So we’ll be discussing this with David Lidington MP as soon as possible.

We have also met with Dominic Grieve MP and a Labour Member of the influential Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Chris Evans MP. Chris is planning to visit Wendover following the Parliamentary recess to see the situation for himself. The PAC are aware that the HS2 project has issues around costs so, the substantial saving that our mined tunnel offers will interest them.

Not someone that we’ve spoken to yet but, out of the blue, Michael Gove is making a case for cancelling HS2 in the press. We are going to contact his advisors.

 

Hydrogeology. You’ll remember that we have consistently pointed out to HS2 Ltd our concerns for the springs and streams in the Parish, if the line is built as they want it.

We’ve now had a meeting with EK, their Hydrologists and our hydro team. They are now fully engaged with the issue and are re-testing everything as they cannot trust the previous ground investigation (GI) carried out by HS2 Ltd. 51 additional bore holes are to be drilled along the proposed line, in the Wendover area.

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