Have HS2 Started Work in Fairford Leys?

Tuesday 4th October 2016

Local resident David Stopps woke up with a surprise this morning courtesy of HS2.

A spokesperson for HS2 Ltd said:

“In order to prepare for construction to begin on HS2 next year, ground investigations are being undertaken on the whole line of route. In Fairford Leys this means we are gathering information on the area’s geology and ground conditions which helps us develop the line’s detailed design work. We will seek to minimise the impacts on the local community during the these works.

“In order to inform residents of the upcoming work we hand delivered letters to approximately 150 local homes to explain the work and how it would affect local roads. We have also informed Buckinghamshire County Council’s highways department and Coldharbour Parish Council of the work we are due to undertake.

“This ground investigation will take place with the prior agreement of the Aylesbury Park Golf Club owner and tenants, which includes the removal of a hedge on Napier Road and its replanting after work is completed in around six weeks’ time.”

  • Local residents concerned should call the HS2’s 24 hour helpdesk on: 0207944 4908

In response to a few of my questions HS2 replied:

Q: The resident I interviewed lives right next door to the field on Napier Road where the Hedge has been removed…. He did not receive a letter…. Can you tell me who did receive these letters?

We posted letters physically through doors ourselves.  We covered properties in the immediate vicinity of the ground investigation site.   This includes along Napier Road and Grosvenor Way, the top two properties of Hudson Mews, but not the properties within the Mews itself as they are a row of houses back, not looking over the site. 

Q: Are you saying Aylesbury Golf Club own the land on which the hedge was removed in Napier Road according to the resident  it is part of the Hartwell House Conservation Area…..?

Ernest Cook Trust owns the land and it’s with them we have signed an agreement including the removal of the hedge, which we have committed to replace.


AVDC Statement:

Susan Kitchen, AVDC Planning Manager:

“There is no requirement for planning permission associated with these works and as such the council would not have displayed any planning notices. In these situations it is HS2’s responsibility to inform local residents of any works happening in the area prior to work being undertaken.”


David Lidington MP expresses concern about unannounced HS2 construction

Residents in Fairford Leys were concerned when they found a hedge removed and an HS2 construction lorry going down a residential road.
David said:

“I have talked to HS2 Ltd and local Parish Councillors about the situation. I understand that this is a ground investigation survey that was agreed with the landowner in advance and that this does not represent the first of many construction vehicles. The HS2 Bill has not yet passed through Parliament and full-scale construction is not expected to start until mid 2017. I have also been reassured that the hedge will be replanted after works are completed in around six weeks’ time.

Nonetheless, this is another example of poor communication from HS2 Ltd which has led to anxiety for local residents who did not receive notice that there would be construction in this area and who are understandably angry that they were not suitably informed in advance. I have expressed my disappointment to their Senior Engagement Manager and I will be meeting with local HS2 representatives to ensure that this situation is not repeated in future.”


Statement from Ernest Cook Trust:

Dr Victoria Edwards, Chief Executive of the Ernest Cook Trust said: “The Ernest Cook Trust is the landowner, but this ground investigation work, is being carried out by contractors on behalf of HS2 as part of their preliminary works relating to the construction of the new railway.  

“As an education Trust and owner of the Hartwell Estate, we have been involved in detailed negotiations since the proposal of HS2 to mitigate, in any way possible, the effect it will have on this historic landscape and the important community of Fairford Leys. This has included both opposing the route itself and calling for appropriate landscaping solutions should the route go ahead. We are very concerned to hear about the disruption that this work is causing to local residents and will be vigilant in ensuring that the restorative actions, agreed by HS2 limited with regard to their current access, are implemented effectively and immediately after the work is completed.”

In response to a few of my questions Ernest Cook Trust replied:

If you oppose HS2 then why have you helped them by giving them access to your land?

The Trust initially opposed the route. However, recognising that we have been unable to influence its route, we are now directing our efforts towards mitigating HS2’s effect on the environment and the local community. Co-operating with HS2 is part of building a professional relationship that will enable us to achieve the best mitigation outcome possible.

.Did you receive money for this agreement?

Nominal compensation is paid by HS2 Ltd to all landowners affected by the need for access. In our case, we have ensured that the greater part of it goes to our tenant, who suffers the direct disturbance. 

Was the hedge that has been removed part of the conservation area?  We are not sure which conservation area you are referring to.  As far as we are aware, the work taking place does not affect any designated statutory conservation area. The hedge at the end of Napier Road will be replaced by HS2 Ltd on completion of the works and we will ensure that this is done to an acceptable standard.

As part of the agreement to allow access did you ask HS2 to keep your involvement quiet to save a back lash or embarrassing publicity to the trust? Not at all: the works do not involve the Trust and any concerns regarding the way in which the works are carried out must be taken up with HS2 Ltd and its contractor.


Bucks County Council:

We can confirm that the roadworks at The Willows are not HS2-related