HS2 Update for April 2011

  |  Published: Apr 15th 2011

Wendover HS2 has been made aware that a leaflet is being distributed in the Wendover area asking for details of property values associated with HS2 Ltd's proposals. The leaflet is not endorsed by or associated in any way with the Wendover HS2 action group, nor are we aware of the purpose of the request for information; it is not an official HS2 Ltd survey. We would advise those who receive the leaflet to consider carefully before responding.

Government launches public consultation on HS2

The Government consultation on HS2, the proposed high-speed rail line between London and Birmingham, is now underway and will run until the end of July.

The proposed route still runs through Wendover on a 10-metre-high viaduct. The latest maps http://highspeedrail.dft.gov.uk/sites/highspeedrail.dft.gov.uk/files/HS2-ARP-00-DR-RW-04209_3.pdf also reveal that the link between Ellesborough Road and the village would be permanently severed: instead of running over the existing railway and road bridge to join Pound Street, Ellesborough Road would be diverted just above the first row of cottages (some of which would be demolished) to run across fields to join Bacombe Lane and beyond it the lane to Dunsmore.

Wendover HS2 Action Group is taking time to study the latest documents in detail before taking part in the consultation. We urge everyone to take part, but suggest you do not rush your response either.

There will be a public meeting for residents in Wendover Memorial Hall on Friday 15 April at 7.30pm, hosted by the Action Group. Speakers will include David Lidington M.P., and advice will be available on completing the consultation response form.

Then, on Friday 13 and Saturday 14 May, HS2 Ltd, the company behind the Government's plans, will be staging an exhibition in the Memorial Hall. This will be an opportunity to question HS2 Ltd about the proposed route and its impact on Wendover.

In the meantime, Wendover HS2 continues to work with AGAHST, the federation of action groups, and plays its part in supporting the work being done nationally to raise awareness of HS2 and canvass support against the proposals.

Wendover HS2 Action Group has opened a new HS2 Information Centre in the heart of the village, where you can view the consultation documents, obtain maps, posters, car stickers and other merchandise, and find out about the effects of HS2 on Wendover and the surrounding areas. The Information Centre, at 2 Icknield Court, Back Street, Wendover is open from 10:00 to 16:00 on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays; or by arrangement on 07922 532598 or by emailing wendoverhs2@btinternet.com. The consultation documents and questions can also be seen at http://highspeedrail.dft.gov.uk/. Paper copies and DVDs can be obtained from HS2 Ltd on 020 7944 4908.

We are looking for additional volunteers who could help in the Information Centre for an hour or so a week. We are also planning to spend time on Coombe Hill over the Easter period, informing walkers about HS2. If you could help with either of these activities, please contact Marion Clayton on 01296 622862 or email wendoverhs2@btinternet.com. If you would like to receive updates about HS2 by email, you can register at <A href="http://www.wendoverhs2.org/" _mce_href="http://www.wendoverhs2.org">www.wendoverhs2.org</A>.


Sir Arthur Bryant CH, CBE, President of the Society, historian, journalist and farmer, had hoped for many years that a protection society could be formed for the Vale of Aylesbury to bring before the entire nation the treasures contained in this unassuming but beautiful, historic and distinctive stretch of English countryside.

This hope has now been realised . . . Later, the Society intends to publish a complete guide book and anthology recording all the places of interest in the Vale of Aylesbury, its history and folklore, its people and the quality of life in this bountiful area. The following descriptions of the Vale, written by Sir Arthur before the formation of the Society, bring to the fore its vividness and its importance to the nation as a whole.

"No comparable area in southern England-certainly none within fifty miles of London contains a greater; extent of unspoilt scenic beauty and rural peace. From Thame in Oxfordshire to Woburn in Bedfordshire, a galaxy of lovely villages unsurpassed anywhere between the industrial Midlands and the Channel coast-the - three Brickhills, Stoke Hammond, Soulbury, Aston Abbotts, Cublington: and tiny secluded Dunton, Stewkley, Hardwick, Weedon, Hoggesden, Whitchurch, Oving, Pitchcott, Quainton, Dinton, Cuddington, the two Winchendons, Grendon Underwood, Chearsley, Long Crendon. Ashendon and the hill town of Brill. Of Quainton, by no means the most outstanding of the Vale's villages, with its exquisite Winwood almshouses, windmill, grey church, tower, mellowed red brick houses beneath its sheltering hill, I wrote during the War: 'In this place with its still unbroken peace of centuries, the past is very near to the, present. All English history-its strength, its sleeping fires, its patient consistency-are contained in its speaking silence.' An organic part of the permanent heritage of England, as near to perfection as anything of its kind at present existing, which has taken centuries to evolve and has bred successive generations of good Englishmen and today supports a highly efficient and up-to-date industry producing the most essential of man's needs-food.

"If one stands on the summit of Muswell Hill-one of the noblest viewpoints in Southern England -and looks eastwards up the Vale of Aylesbury, it is hard to define the beauty of the Vale, for it is compounded of ever-changing light, but whether seen from the Chiltern escarpment or from the hills which rise like islands in the midst of its undulating plain, that checkered landscape of soft greens and browns, reflected clouds and far blue horizons is unsurpassed anywhere in southern England. It is the landscape which Rex Whistler painted and the deep-rooted countryside which A G Macdonell in his England Their England described with such affection and understanding: 'the loveliest of English names, the Vale of Aylesbury. Pasture and hedge, mile after mile after mile, grey-green and brown and russet and silver where little rivers tangle themselves among reeds and trodden watering-pools.' With the country's southern part now given over to suburbia, industrial Slough and the western approaches of Heathrow, and much of the north to be swallowed up in the projected new town of Milton Keynes-cum-Bletchley-cum-Wolverton, the survival of the Buckinghamshire landscape for future generations depends on the preservation of the Vale of Aylesbury.

It should not be forgotten that of the ever-growing number of American and foreign travellers who come to England to see its historic sights, landscape and antiquities, a large proportion visit and pass through Buckinghamshire, and that rich agricultural vale below the Chiltern escarpment, with its buttercup meadows, hedgerow elms and red-brick and half-cast 17th century cottages and soft blue horizons is often the first and unforgettable impression they receive of the English countryside.

"The Vale is as rich in history as in beauty. It lies at the heart of the famous political shire which was the home of Hampden and Burke, of Disraeli and Rosebery, of the Grenville cousinhood which governed England through its most brilliant member, Chatham, at-the apex of Britain's 18th century glory, and, more recently, at Chequers, with its close associations with Cromwell, the country retreat of Britain's two great War Ministers, Lloyd George and Churchill. 'All this part of England', wrote Disraeli, who loved it and delivered many of his speeches to gatherings of his farming constituents in Aylesbury, 'is history'.

"Among the historic houses-in addition to countless humbler homes no less comely and ancient are Chequers and Hampden, Hartwell and the wonderful 14th century Doddershall- one of the oldest of England's habited houses. Oving Ascott and Mentmore, Dinton, Tythrop, Dorton, Chilton and Wotton and the great National Trust properties of Claydon-- and Waddesdon with all their treasures."

"The villages vary in character and purpose but there can be no doubt that they provide a satisfactory way of life for their inhabitants-the families of many have lived there for generations. The villages represent a piece of man-made environment - the like of which we plan to achieve but seldom do. . . ."

F B Pooley, CBE, Bucks County Architect and Planning Officer, 'Evidence laid before Commission on the Third London Airport', 1969.


My "OWN" piece of RAILWAY

Regretfully, I cannot write my story direct, as on 6 April 1999, I departed for another place. "Heaven". My name was John, & I was for many years up to my retirement in the late 1970s, a British Rail track worker, a "Platelayer" a position that did not require any formal education certificates, but required sense & good health., maintaining the mainline from Yorkshire to the Settle - Carlisle at Shipley, Bradford.

Track workers were graded from the lowest position of plate layer (labourer) to ganger, who was in charge of a number of plate layers, & they collectively they maintained a section of track, mainline, secondary lines, points & sidings. During FOG, we sat by each signal, armed with detonators, warning the train driver of the signal setting, & kept warm with a fire in a brazier, with coal supplied by the grateful train crew.

Our tools were only basic, a Spade, a Pick, a Pinch bar, a Sledgehammer & a Track gauge, yet sufficed. Each platelayer was allocated a short LENGTH of mainline as "HIS" & each year, competition awards were given to the platelayer, who kept the BEST LENGTH, which made him feel a "KING" over all he surveyed. .Just imagine, being one of the lowest paid workers in the country, a platelayer could NOT afford to own a house, nor a car, BUT in effect OWNED a section of railway track, which made him very proud with a status in local society. The Platelayer had to walk his section of track daily, inspecting the rails for wear, checking the rails were secure in the sleeper chairs, ensuring the rail cant (angle of lean) was maintained on curves, grease & double check all points, clearing weeds, ensuring the track ballast was clean to assist draining away of heavy rain deposits, & clearing away undergrowth & tree leaves, to allow the locomotive wheels to maintain adhesion to climb gradients, & brake quickly to stop at RED signals. A vital safety requirement.

Looking down from my "lofty" position, I find that due to privatisation, & track maintenance being now the responsibility of Contractors, who themselves sub-contract to others, the day to day inspection of mainline tracks is NOT done as in my day, which with the present fiasco by Railtrack PIc is today's subject in passengers mind.

It is quite obvious, that the SAME person MUST inspect the track daily, noting the above conditions, otherwise, any deterioration in track quality MIGHT NOT be noticed, & reported to "Higher Authority" for quick action. Trains CANNOT proceed as SAFELY as they did when track maintenance was a personal responsibility The recent "Hatfield" crash was due to a broken rail, & subsequent investigations throughout the United Kingdom rail network, found many miles of BADLY worn track, which in my day would NOT have occurred, for as the "cant" on the Hatfield curve appears to have been less than required for lOOmph plus expresses, the wear on the outer rail was more than the lower rail, causing stress fractures & a broken rail resulting in death & injuries to many.'

My "BOSS" is quite concerned, that many people are presenting themselves at the "pearly gates" before their due time, causing severe accommodation shortages up here, so PLEASE ask Railtrack Pic to reinstate the "OLD" method of track safety inspections, if, not, my "BOSS" win be very angry, & win await the negligent parties arrival up here.

Drafted by John's friend, Ken Hobson (71yrs)

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