Golf club takes aim at HS2 after not being consulted

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Changes to HS2’s route which will destroy an Aylesbury golf course were not properly consulted on, the High Court has heard.

The high speed train line will plough through the middle of Aylesbury Park Golf Club in Fairford Leys, completely obliterating 12 of the course’s 18 holes.

Speaking on behalf of the club’s owners and two landowners as part of a judicial review, lawyer David Fletcher said his clients were not consulted when the route was changed to protect nearby Hartwell House.

He told the court that following discussions with Hartwell House in 2010 the line was moved between 75 and 100 metres away from the Grade I listed building.

Mr Fletcher said it meant ‘from a commercial point of view it was not reasonable for the club to continue and the golf park should have been told about the route change’.

“The change to the line is disasterous, as opposed to merely inconvenient” he said.

The judicial review was brought by golf park boss Geoffrey Legouix and joint owner Jack Woodford along with farmer Geoffrey Jarvis.

The court heard the men had submitted an alternative 22km route, passing nearer Haddenham, which was rejected.

Mr Fletcher questioned the consultation, stating that it resulted in 769 alternative route suggestions, including 187 for Aylesbury. He claimed it showed the consultation was ‘pre-determined’ and Hs2 Ltd was ‘not prepared to consider any significant changes to the route and only mitigation’.

In response government representative Tim Mould said that HS2 carried out a pre-consultation with bodies such as the Earnest Cook trust to ensure the public consultation was carried out effectively.

He told the court that ‘fairness didn’t deem that a meeting should have taken place’ with the golf club about the changes.

It is possible that the chief engineer of Hs2 will be called to explain the route change when the case resumes this morning.

Afterwards, the fifth and final judicial review will be heard. It focuses on the Hs2 Action Alliance’s claim that the consultation was not carried out fairly.