HS2 and the Free Family
Views from Rocky Lane
My parents bought our small cottage in Kings Ash 38 years ago and it is situated on top of Rocky Lane. My father always said it was the house with the beautiful view. The “theatre” of the changing seasons always delighted us.
After he died my mother and I decided to stay; where better than this place and we were not alone. The footpath next to our garden always had local and visiting walkers. It was also a favourite for many of Duke of Edinburgh Award groups.
But no more. The footpath has been blocked by HS2 and the closed sign appeared overnight with no warning.
HS2 delight in telling us how they care for the environment with their mitigations and engagements to the local communities but I see little evidence of this where I live apart from the odd official letter with its aerial views and details that are often subject to change.
When Rocky Lane was closed recently for over 2 weeks for the removal of parts of a hedgerow further down, the Lee Forum, our local online information platform, https://www.thelee.org.uk/the-lee-forum-2020/, was the place to go. If I needed to go to Wendover – like going to Wendover Health Centre for my mother – the diversion added 16 miles to the journey!
In 2010 this concern about diversions was raised by many of us in the hilltop villages soon after the HS2 project was announced.
Assurances were given, but if it is like this now what will it be like when construction of the line gathers pace? With increased traffic on our narrow potholed lanes we have been forgotten by the Government and HS2. We are just a group of scattered houses in the way of their amazing scheme. Because of the traffic I no longer walk along Kings Lane like I used to.
The Chilterns is a special place with its rare chalk streams, ancient woods and hills that are home to many animals and plants. Being designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), one would have thought our Government – especially with its so-called drive for biodiversity in our environment and going carbon neutral – would strive to cherish it. Their words sound so hollow now as I gaze out over the valley to Jones Hill Wood; vandalized by chainsaws, its Barbastelle bat roosts and badger sett gone and Durham Farm reduced to an HS2 compound. This is some of the price paid for this £100 billion scheme: A price too high!
Conservation is an obstruction to HS2 construction!
This is the real priority of our Government!
Johanna Jane Free