COMMUNITY FORUM MEETINGS ARRANGED BY HS2 LTD FOR THE BODDINGTON TO
GREATWORTH HS2 SECTION
SECOND MEETING: Held at Aston le Walls Village Hall 19 June 2012
Miscellaneous points (not minutes) noted by Tania Parsons representing Thorpe
Mandeville Parish Council
The opening session focused on two issues:
1. The apparent reluctance by HS2 Ltd to commit to meeting the HS1 “Kent Criteria”
as a minimum for design up to this point. HS2 claimed that the design refinement
process over the next two years will in fact exceed the above standards. They agreed to
produce a “design targets” submission for the next community forum.
2. The process of mitigation development and the weighting that the cost implications
carry. HS2 claimed that they are expected not to exceed the current budget sum of ca.
£16bn for the project including mitigation. However, savings made elsewhere (£250m)
will be able to be used to provide “community benefit” solutions to those areas still
suffering extensive blight. They would not be drawn on the weighting process nor on
how the mitigation cost-benefit process will operate, especially where one area’s
expectations is pitted against others’.
The mitigation break-out session for our area included representatives from Thorpe
Mandeville, Lower Thorpe, Culworth and Eydon plus a representative from CPRE. The
mitigation proposal offered by this group to Mark Bailey (HS2 Environmental) was well
received as a constructive attempt to engage in the process; it appears that HS2 are already
trying to refine the design in our area. The HS2 representatives readily agreed to facilitate a
bilateral meeting on site in the next few weeks to explore our needs and the possible design
solutions. There was also an introductory discussion on the special needs of Lower Thorpe and
they agreed to provide suitable contacts from within HS2. A similar agreement was reached on
behalf of the local land-owners.
The follow-up bilateral discussions are likely to be confirmed for the first half of July.
FIRST MEETING: Held at Aston le Walls Village Hall 27 March 2012
Miscellaneous points (not minutes) noted by Maurice Cole (MC), Parish Clerk
representing Thorpe Mandeville Parish Council (Tania Parsons was unable to attend).
Community Forums have been initiated ”to work with HS2 Ltd to develop the route design in a
way which will minimise potential impacts and identify opportunities for local communities to
benefit from the project. The forums provide an arena for the local community to identify issues
and concerns…” Forums are not decision-making bodies; they make recommendations.
The format of the meeting was short introductions from the HS2 representatives, including an
engineer, followed by group discussion. No engineering plans were made available beyond
those already on the HS2 website.
In attendance: 5 HS2 personnel and 23 representatives from local parish councils, district and
county councils, and other organisations such as CPRE and action groups.
Chair: Chris Wilson (Aston le Walls)
A large part of the meeting was devoted to initial administrative and procedural
Local issues will be recorded on an HS2 register and HS2 will suggest solutions. In some cases,
separate meetings will be arranged with local groups to address specific issues (hopefully
mitigation of the viaduct in Lower Thorpe? - MC). HS2 will bring specialist personnel to forum
meetings. Notes of all Community Forum meetings will be put on the HS2 Community Forum
website ( http://highspeedrail.dft.gov.uk/node/3851/#CS ). Meetings will be held every two
months. HS2 was asked if funds would be available to enable community representatives to
communicate with residents - many do not have internet access (no immediate response). The
next meeting date has not been set.
Discussion then moved on to engineering issues:
It soon became very obvious that engineering planning is embryonic – many questions could
not be answered. We are “at very, very early stages of decisions”. No HS2 representative
expressed knowledge of the “Kent Criteria” standards for HS1. It was commented that
parliament will ensure HS2 standards are better than the Kent Criteria. The HS2
representatives were firmly advised that communities need specific information about the
route. Also, recent conflicting statements from politicians and HS2 Ltd about track usage do not
The track-fenced zone planned at a normal 22metres width, fence to fence, includes a 4metre
access track (roadway) running parallel. However, engineers are now considering whether it is
appropriate to have the access track throughout the whole route.
Tunnels will be very wide; trains will not go any slower through tunnels. There will be ‘boom’
noise problems as trains exit but good engineering will mitigate the sound. (Note: no tunnels
are currently planned in our parish but a tunnel mouth from the Greatworth tunnel will be
located near the area currently used by the aeromodel club. – MC)
HS2 Ltd acknowledged that all mitigation options are dependent on affordability.
The engineering of viaducts is “nowhere near” in planning (so we still do not know the likely
visual or noise impact in Lower Thorpe). However it was mentioned that 2metre boarding can
be installed above viaducts to absorb sound. HS2 representatives indicated that some sound-
reducing options for viaducts could lead to visual blight… which option is preferable?
Concerns were expressed about the construction process. A Code of Construction Practice will
be incorporated in the ongoing Environmental Impact Assessment. Answers could not be
provided regarding any specific local storage and road access areas during the construction.
Construction timing has not yet been planned: work on our section could be “anytime between
2017 and 2025”.
There was brief discussion on properties and blight:
Concerns were expressed about “Safeguarding” whereby it looks as if HS2 will have a veto to
stop planning applications for properties within a certain distance of the route if it is considered
detrimental to HS2. The Safeguarding zone should be known later this year.
It was stressed to HS2 that in the absence of an Environmental Impact Assessment parishes do
not know to what extent they will be affected; thereby we are severely hampered in
determining concerns and mitigation.
HS2 hopes to let out properties bought under the Hardship Scheme.
In conclusion: It was frustrating. The forum is too large for all individual issues to be
adequately addressed during meetings although we were encouraged to put these forward. The
attendees declined from stating issues on a one by one basis at this meeting (time was deemed
to be put to better use). Concerns will be submitted to HS2 by email. (The current list of Thorpe
concerns forwarded by Tania Parsons will be submitted to HS2.)
One attendee commented to me that we have heard a lot but learned little… I fully agree. No
doubt these meetings will become increasingly beneficial. At least we now have a conduit into
the HS2 organisation.
Maurice Cole, Parish Clerk
(These notes should be regarded with caution; they not authoritative. They are solely my
understanding of some aspects discussed and therefore may be inaccurate!)