Victory for Wendover anti-HS2 campaigners in road battle

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Anti-HS2 campaigners have won a significant battle to keep a main road open, a decision that will be a major boost for Wendover businesses.

Originally, the construction of HS2 would have meant the closure of Ellesborough Road, which runs into the village.

But HS2 Ltd has now confirmed the road will remain open throughout the construction period, apart from a very short time, perhaps as little as a day.

This will be achieved by constructing a short curved diversion alongside the existing road and then re-opening the original section after completion of the green tunnel expected to be built in that area.

Many of Wendover’s businesses depend on trade from people who access the village off the A4010 and there had been fears they would lose out as a result of the closure to build the £33 billion high speed train line, which will pass near the village.

Easy access on this route is also important to tourists who pass through Wendover each year, many on The Ridgeway, which passes along the High Street. The Ridgeway will also now remain open to walkers during construction.

Wendover Society chairman Mike Beard said: “Although none of us want this line to be built, we must, and will, continue to work to minimise the effects on our community. We will also work with others to this end. This new concession demonstrates that HS2 Ltd managers will listen and react to strong representations where this is possible within their remit.”

The Wendover Society first raised the issue with HS2 Ltd in April 2011 at a meeting with HS2 Ltd chief executive Alison Munro and colleagues. At that time the plan had been to close Ellesborough Road permanently and create a diversion.

In July 2011, the society submitted evidence of the effects such a closure would have on the community and businesses.

Subsequent to the revised route announcement in January, the society and other organisations have continued to press for this access to Wendover to be kept open and they now appear to have got their reward.

HS2 Ltd head of community and stakeholder engagement Lisa Levy said: “Under our latest plans, we intend to provide a temporary diversion near the existing road so that access is maintained while we build the green tunnel, and we are continuing to develop options to facilitate this. When the green tunnel is completed, Ellesborough Road will be reopened across it.

“The views of local residents and businesses are important to us and we hope our final plans for Ellesborough Road meet the community’s needs.”

The Prime Minister was accosted and quizzed by anti-HS2 campaigners as he walked through Wendover while shopping on Saturday.