Harefield people are readying themselves for the arrival of a cross-party select committee of MPs who will look at the areas most affected in the village when work begins on the first phase of building the line.
The committee - set up to scrutinise the government’s HS2 bill - have begun hearing petitions against the line and as part of the consultations are making site visits to affected areas.
It has been announced they will visit the Colne Valley on Thursday, January 15, visiting areas across Bucks and a few key spots in Harefield.
Campaigners are planning to have a ‘visible presence’ at all the sites in Harefield the committee will view, but shared concerns the MPs will not have enough time to visit all the major impact areas.
Doreen McIntyre of Harefield Against HS2, said: “It’s going to be tricky covering three local authority areas in one trip, with different MPs, councillors and local action groups all needing to input perpsectives.
“We understand that the visits mean a lot to the committee as they help bring the maps to life and help them relate to what petitioners are saying when they get in front of them.”
The campaign group has a wish list of areas they hope the committee will be able to see including the panoramic view across Harefield and the Colne Valley from The Old Orchard in Park Lane, Broadwater Lake nature reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest, Harefield Marina and the Grand Union Canal towpath and Hillingdon Outdoor Activities Centre in Dews Lane.
People who have petitioned against the HS2 bill will in the coming months be able to make presentations to the committee to explain their main concerns and to state the need for the impact of the project to be mitigated.
Protesters are in the process of preparing their presentations as they will only get four to six weeks notice before going in front of the committee - with site visits tending to take place relatively close to the actual petition hearings.
Hilary Wharf, director of HS2 Action Alliance, based in Amersham, said: “It’s a very important time, undoubtedly. We need to make sure that our points are made as clearly as possible to the select committee, and to make sure that they understand just how much impact the project is going to have.”
HS2’s fate will be decided in a vote by MPs and the High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Bill Select Committee, chaired by conservative MP Robert Syms, can’t stop the project, but it can recommend changes to the route.
Harfield Against HS2’s wish list includes:
The Old Orchard for it’s panoramic view
Harefield High Street and roundabout with Park Lane and Breakspear Road North for a demonstration of the traffic challenges
Harefield Hospital for a reminder that traffic congestion isn’t just inconvinient, it can be life-threatening
Moorhall Road for the viaduct crossing point, construction sites and traffic chaos
Broadwater Lake nature reserve and SSSI
Harefield Marina - a hidden gem - and Grand Union Canal towpath
Hillside/Dellside for the permanently devastating effect of National Grid plans and chaos during construction
Park Lodge Farm
Harvil Road for the spoil dumping, construction chaos and
Breakspear Road South for a reminder that there is no escape from construction traffic, and a feel for the tunnel portal impacts
What would be your ‘must-see’ places for the committee to visit? Email firstname.lastname@example.org