On Wednesday morning, at our invitation Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire Council, accompanied by Angela Macpherson, our Councillor, took an extended drive around the local area affected by the combined effects of HS2 and East West Rail (EWR).
The purpose of the trip was to bring Mr Tett up to speed on the local situation prior to a meeting with a representative of Steeple Claydon PC and the Chairs of the other local Parishes, Calvert Green, Charndon and Twyford at Twyford Village Hall. During this meeting we expressed our concern about the behaviour of the contractors working for HS2 and EWR in terms of respecting the agreed conditions for construction, the effect of the additional traffic, speeding by contractors’ vehicles, failure to keep the road surfaces free of mud and their effect on the road surfaces and verges.
We asked that processes be put in place to monitor these issues and ensure, as far as possible, that senior management of the two promoters take appropriate actions to bring their contractors and sub contractors to heel. The Council have the benefit of being able to speak with the senior management, an advantage denied mere Parish Councils despite both promoters’ protestations of operating to high standards of resident engagement. Finding some way of improving behaviour is, in our opinion, vital in avoiding any dangerous incidents as work becomes more intense.
All in all a useful meeting which has now involved the highest political levels of the Council with the opportunity to repeat at, maybe, quarterly intervals. Hopefully, this will start to make a difference to the challenging times which we face whilst the two railways are completed.
Additionally it is worth reporting that on 6th January there will be a Transport Select Committee session at the HoC at which the HS2 Minister and the CEO of HS2 appear. Our MP, Greg Smith, who is a member, has arranged for a short presentation created by the four Parishes to be made by Phil Gaskin of Calvert Green PC. This will demonstrate the cavalier manner in which both railways are being constructed. This will give the MPs some ammunition with which to hold HS2 and the DfT to account in the second part of the session. We hope that they take the opportunity.