Changes secured to Great Missenden HS2 traffic mitigation proposals

Martin Tett

Significant changes to the proposed mitigation work planned for Link Road, Great Missenden were agreed yesterday (October 29) by HS2, following a meeting with officials from Buckinghamshire County Council.

The changes mean that all but one of the trees, which created such controversy in the original design, will remain untouched. This includes the tree at the turning in to the Buryfield recreation area. This has been achieved by amongst other things reducing the length of the widened section up to the A413 roundabout.

The scheme, designed by Fusion at the request of HS2 Ltd to deliver the mitigation for Great Missenden, was agreed by Parliament after petitioning by both Buckinghamshire County Council and Great Missenden Parish Council.

The swift action by the County Council follows a recent visit to the site by Leader of the Council, Martin Tett and Transportation Cabinet Member, Mark Shaw. They heard the views of many villagers and protestors who were unhappy with the Fusion proposals and subsequently pledged to review the plans with HS2. Fusion will now carry out the necessary detailed design work to incorporate the agreed changes.

Official figures indicate that the volume of HS2’s Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) using the junctions at Frith Hill and Link Road will result in both becoming heavily congested at peak periods of the day. Therefore, some form of mitigation remains necessary to prevent traffic mayhem for local people.

Martin Tett said he was very happy that a scheme had now been designed which both provided acceptable traffic mitigation whilst, most importantly, protecting the local environment.

“As someone who has spent ten years fighting HS2, not least the trail of destruction it will cause as it carves its way through the very heart of Buckinghamshire, I am delighted that we seem now to have a scheme which is an acceptable compromise, both protecting our beautiful county, whilst letting people get to and from their work during the many years of construction that potentially lie ahead.

“I had previously written to Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Transport, on three occasions and also the Prime Minister asking for the work on HS2 across Bucks to be halted pending the outcome of the Oakervee Review. The Government would not agree to this, however, the redesign of this mitigation scheme will mean that no work will now take place for almost four months. This should be after the Oakervee Review is published. I still hope that the Review will see HS2 cancelled, but in case it is not, we need to ensure adequate mitigation for our residents.”

Martin added, “We’ve listened and we’ve acted to get the best outcome. I hope we can now all come together in the best interests of everyone in Great Missenden and the surrounding area as we all prepare to cope with the day to day effects of the massive construction about to take place should HS2 go ahead.”

Speaking from Westminster where she has campaigned tirelessly against HS2 over many years, Rt Hon Dame Cheryl Gillan MP said: “Having met with campaigners, councillors and HS2 to try and halt these works until after the Oakervee Report has reported, I am delighted that we have obtained this pause which will alleviate the stress on the village in the run up to Christmas.”

Although mitigation work continues at Frith Hill, it is expected that the Link Road work won’t now begin on site until late February next year at the earliest, subject to the outcomes from the long-awaited Oakervee report.