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As petition deadline looms we speak to those fearing the impact of HS2

Petitioners across Hillingdon are poised to let the government know how HS2 could plague their lives

John Randall joined Hillingdon Against HS2 campaigners outside the Houses of Parliament ahead of the Hybrid Bill second reading

Petitioners are poised to let the government know how HS2 could plague their lives.

Numerous submissions are ready to go, as the first deadline for formal petitioning approaches on Friday.

But as is so often the case with proposals by HS2, exactly what construction work will need to take place and for how long is unclear.

"It is the not knowing that is worse," said Manor ward councillor Douglas Mills (Con), who has helped shopkeepers in New Pond Parade, Ruislip Gardens, to make their case. They fear what might happen when HS2 starts digging up West End Road, in front of their parade of shops, to investigate and possibly replace a sewer as part of work to build the Northolt tunnel which will run close by.

"It could be for at least nine months," Mr Mills said. "This petition asks for protection."

If the hybrid bill for the line passes into law some time after the 2015 general election, HS2 would have the right to use land close to several of the shops as well as a number of homes in Ruislip.

This petition will therefore ask the parliamentary select committee on HS2 to ensure that, if work takes place, it would not impact shoppers’ parking spaces or cut access to the shops or a post box; if HS2 needs to use land to the rear of shops it does not limit staff or delivery access; and if any shop suffers financial loss because of work carried out by HS2, or its contractors, they will be compensated.

Elsewhere, Ruislip High School in Sidmouth Drive, and Ruislip Gardens Primary School in Stafford Road, will submit a joint petition also calling for mitigation from the utility work in West End Road.

In Ickenham, with the help of Ickenham Residents’ Association member Brian Adams, people have created a number of petitions because of the hardship owners fear they will face during the building of the line.

Three construction sites are planned close to Ickenham, with one off Harvil Road set to be active for 10 years.

Mr Adams, who lives in Breakspear Road South, is submitting his own petition, as his house will sit opposite the major construction site.

"HS2 will be dumping spoil up to three metres high over a period of 10 years in front of my house.

"Visually I am going to suffer and we are going to have traffic from two major construction sites in the area bounding down our roads for that whole time.

"We don't know if they will be working 24 hours a day and we will get no compensation," he said.

He is asking for the tunnel to be extended to remove the blight from construction sites and 3m high piles of spoil. He is also petitioning to change the way spoil is moved from using roads to using the existing Chiltern railway line to take it away.

"If none of that works they can have my house and pay full price for it," he said. "Offer proper compensation for the blight that we will suffer."

In Ruislip, the chairman of Ruislip Against HS2, Lottie Jones, will be submitting a personal petition alongside the group’s petition.

Her house, despite being semi-detatched and connected through a supporting wall to her next door neighbour, is not entitled to a settlement deed should her house be damaged structurally by the building of the HS2 tunnel under Ruislip.

Her neighbours house is. "If her walls start to crack, mine will too, but I am the width of a wall too far to be included in the protected area," she said.

And mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has joined the Hillingdon Council members, Hillingdon Outdoor Activities Centre (HOAC), Hillingdon Against HS2 campaign groups and the residents associations of Harefield, Ruislip, South Ruislip and Ickenham in calling for an extension of the Northolt tunnel through the Colne Valley.

Business and group petitions must be handed in by Friday. Individuals have until Friday, May 23.

The select committee has the power to order HS2 to review its decisions and ensure suitable mitigation.

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