CRITICS of the construction and operation of the high-speed London to Birmingham line are encouraging Harrow people to respond to a public consultation.
The track, known as High Speed 2 (HS2) Phase One, will skirt close to the southern boundary of Harrow and some locals are worried about the wider fall-out from the building of the route and the perceived lack of information available to people living and working in the borough.
No copies of HS2 information and consultation documents have been deposited in Harrow’s libraries.
Tim Jones, director of Bradley and Jones funeral parlour in Love Lane, Pinner, is worried about how construction will affect mourners travelling to Breakspear Crematorium in Ruislip, in particular the temporary closure and realignment of Harvil Road between Ickenham and Harefield during the building of three bridges, one over the HS2 line itself.
Mr Jones said: “All the main roads and all the rat runs are going to be completely jammed with people trying to get to Breakspear Crematorium – for mourners it will be horrendous.
“There will be no way of getting across the road so people will have to take detours and go all the way around to get to the crematorium. I don’t think anyone has sat down and thought about it. Breakspear Crematorium has 3,500 funerals a year.
“The impact will be felt by people in Harrow. It will happen and only then will people start saying: ‘Why didn’t anyone tell us?’”
HS2 Ltd, the Department for Transport-owned company undertaking the project, is consulting until Thursday next week on its draft environmental statement that outlines the expected impacts of creating and running the line, covering topics from ecology and noise to traffic and socio-economic changes.
A HS2 spokesman said: “The 26 consultation events we ran correspond to the 26 community forum areas that we have for the first phase of HS2. We don’t hold a community forum in Harrow as the route doesn’t go through that area.
“There were consultation events in Perivale and Northolt that people in Harrow could have attended. We also have a public enquiry number that people can call if they have specific questions.”
HS2 Phase One, the 143-mile line between London and Birmingham, could be operational by 2026 and offer 14 trains an hour in either direction with 1,100 seats on peak services.
Harrow Council’s portfolio holder for environment, councillor Asad Omar (Independent Labour), said: “The nearest point of construction to Harrow would be Ruislip, so some traffic may have to be diverted through Harrow from surrounding boroughs whilst this takes place. At the moment there is no evidence to suggest that there will be any major environmental impact on the borough.
“Even though HS2 would not pass through Harrow, it could have a hugely beneficial effect on Harrow and Wealdstone Station, freeing up capacity for additional trains.”
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