HS2 boss urged ‘be more transparent’

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THE boss of HS2 is coming to Aylesbury this week to answer questions about her new forums – which campaigners this week dubbed secret meetings that should be open to the press and public.

Closed-door meetings have already taken place for Amersham, Little Missenden, Great Missenden, Wendover, Stoke Mandeville and Aylesbury to discuss ways of minimising the impact of the high speed line.

The Stop HS2 campaign group has encouraged opponents to raise issues in the forums – but called for ‘more transparency’ in the way they are being run.

On Thursday the chief executive of HS2 Ltd, Alison Munro, will speak to 130 representatives of action groups and councils at a special HS2 summit in the Oculus.

It has been organised by the 51m campaign group of 19 councils which oppose HS2 and is designed to help those involved with the forums make the most of them. Aylesbury town councillor Steve Mitchell was one of 25 people invited to the first Aylesbury forum meeting – where no chairman for the group was elected and no date was set for a second meeting.

Mr Mitchell criticised the narrow focus of the forum, saying; “The forum is only meant to be discussing the mitigation in the area’s that it (HS2) is passing through. We can’t for example talk about an intermediate station (near Calvert linking HS2 to East-West rail) which we wanted to do – that has got to be done in a different place.”

Penny Gaines, of Quainton, social media director of Stop HS2, said: “I have heard that in the forum that would cover the Steeple Claydon depot, they didn’t actually invite anyone from Steeple Claydon.”

Ms Gaines has called for the press to be invited to the forums and full minutes of meetings to be taken – to ensure that anyone with ‘relevant local knowledge’ knows about the forums and is able to contribute.

Along the proposed route there are 25 forums. A spokesman for HS2 Ltd confirmed that brief ‘notes and actions’ will be recorded at meetings and made available – and for more information visit www.hs2.org.uk