Families and HS2 are both choosing not to stop here

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HS2 is stopping families from moving to the Vale, according to Aylesbury MP David Lidington who has met with estate agents to discuss the issue.

But the planned rail line has not stopped families who already live in the Vale from moving near to the proposed route, he discovered.

The Europe minister, who openly opposes HS2 (which will not stop in the Vale) said the meeting ‘gave me a chance to hear directly from estate agents about the impact on the property market’.

He said: “There has been a problem – although there is no science and easy way to determine the impact of HS2 from the more general malaise in the property market.

“But there is now doubt about it, in Wendover and Stoke Mandveille, there has been a drop in the market which is more prominent at properties that are right beside the route.

“There is still a market in Wendover, people moving up or down that is still going on. But an outsider who is looking at where they would like to move in Bucks is thinking ‘should I take the risk of somewhere affected by HS2 when there are other places available?’

“They are not just concerned about the impact of the railway once complete. It’s first about construction and what will be involved – or for how long construction will affect the route.

“Tunnels will help up to a point, but this meeting was practitioners confirming the anecdotal impressions that I had about the impact on local residents.”

Meanwhile Mr Lidington has also had a response to his concern that passenger numbers on HS2 could be lower than forecast.

Transport secretary Justine Greening wrote to the Vale MP to reassure him that ‘forecasting has improved’ since HS1 – where figures show that passenger numbers are still lower than originally forecast in 1995.

Ms Greening said: “The original forecasts for HS1 did not anticipate the introduction of low cost airlines. As the market for low cost air travel is maturing we do not expect similar impacts on the market for HS2 services. Also, the HS2 forecasts are conservative compared to recent patterns of demand growth.”

Ms Greening added that HS1 was more ‘challenging’ as it required forecasting for a ‘new international service’, and demand for rail travel between British cities is currently ‘well understood’.