Shocked Walton Court residents told by the government their homes are needed for HS2

Mark Draper
Mark Draper

More than 100 Aylesbury families have been told they may have to hand over their homes to the Government if HS2 is built.

Developers for the high-speed rail project have recently identified extra land that it will need to acquire to work on existing pylons and overhead cables to power the line.

Home owners living in the south-west fringes of Walton Court close to where the line will run have this week been written to by HS2 Ltd.

Letters have arrived within days of the paving bill being approved in the Commons to authorise the funding for the project.

Streets affected include Bonham Close, Dormer Close, Iris Close, Lavender Close, Foxgloves, Lupin Walk, Miles End, Parrot Close, Stratford Drive and Tolman Court.

Mark Draper, a web analyst living in Dormer Close, was one of those contacted by HS2 and has been told that his home will be needed on either a ‘temporary or permanent basis’.

He said: “It’s very strange. I’ve spoken to my neighbours and it’s the ambiguity that has perturbed us.

“Our lads have moved down to the south coast now so if they want our land and I get the right expenses then so be it but we don’t really know what they want from us.”

Mr Draper, 56, has been informed that national grid adjustments will require him to relinquish ownership of his land as the work takes place during what HS2 Ltd said was a ‘203- week window’.

Construction for the train line to Birmingham is due to begin in 2017 and open in 2026.

“If they put us up in a hotel, I’ve got very expensive taste and so does my wife,” Mr Draper joked.

Recent fieldwork has established the affected houses and has led to families facing the prospect of road-side scaffolding and unstrung cables above their properties.

HS2 has requested that Mr Draper, and other land owners in the affected Walton Court area, complete a land interest questionnaire.

The families have also been told that separate details of the planned development will be sent to them as soon as they are available.

Mr Draper explained that although the letter states local MPs had been informed, Aylesbury MP David Lidington was unaware of the developments.

“I spoke to him on Twitter and he had no idea. He said send me over the details and I’ll have a look!”

David Meechan from HS2 said that all letters sent out to affected families should fully explain their intentions and that they would do their best to answer any queries Mr Draper had.

A consultation will be carried out during the hybrid bill process, which is due to be lodged to Parliament before the end of the year, enabling affected home owners to comment on the developments.