HS2 roadshows ‘not a tick box exercise’, say officials behind scheme

HS2 Ltd stakeholder manager Martin Wells at the Waddesdon event
HS2 Ltd stakeholder manager Martin Wells at the Waddesdon event
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HS2 Ltd officials have denied roadshows detailing the environmental impact of the line are simply a ‘tick box exercise’.

Today (Friday) HS2 Ltd is in Waddesdon to give people a chance to look in detail at the plans and discuss it and any concerns.

The event, one of several in the district in May and June, is part of a consultation on HS2 Ltd’s draft environmental statement.

Critics say the roadshows are a false attempt by HS2 Ltd to look like it is listening to people’s concerns and that nothing will come of them, but officials say this is not the case.

HS2 Ltd stakeholder manager Martin Wells said: “The draft statement is something that we have chosen to do, it’s not something that we have to do.

“Given that we don’t need to be doing this I think it’s quite difficult to suggest it’s a tick box exercise.”

The £32 billion line, which has been hit by a series of negative official reports in recent weeks, is set to pass to the east of Waddesdon, with mitigation measures being sought by Waddesdon Manor and a bypass road likely to be built.

Most visitors to the event The Bucks Herald spoke to remain opposed to the scheme but are resigned to it happening, a theme Mr Wells has seen in many places.

He said: “By and large more and more people are coming in and saying ‘what’s it going to look like’, not ‘this isn’t going to get built’.

“There is a greater degree of acceptance than there ever was.

“You are always going to get people that view things negatively.

“Most people are grateful that we have spent the time and effort explaining it to them and that we hare providing a lot of knowledge and expertise to answer their questions.”

Among those at the roadshow, which was exhibiting detailed and interactive maps of the route, before and after images and copies of the environmental statement, were residents, councillors and businesspeople.

If built, HS2 will pass 700 metres from Chris Armstead’s Waddesdon home.

He said: “It’s going to be noisy and disruptive and change the character of the local environment.

“I’m still not convinced about the business case for it.

“There’s nothing new here today that we haven’t seen or heard before.”

The environmental roadshows for the area began on Thursday in Great Missenden, with the event at Waddesdon village hall due to finish at 8pm.

Others will be at Stoke Mandeville stadium on June 24 and Wendover Memorial Hall on June 29.