Amersham and Chesham MP to oppose High Speed 2 rail link

MP to "defy party" over high speed trains

Cheryl Gillan addresses residents shut out of last night's meeting

Residents pack into the hall

Hundreds of people locked out of the meeting tried to hear what was happening through open windows

First published in The Chalfonts Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Watch our video of the MPs addressing people outside the meeting. The Bucks Free Press was unable to get access to film the meeting.

AN MP said last night she would oppose plans for a high speed rail link – even if it means going against her party's policy.

Cheryl Gillan, MP for Amersham and Chesham, said she would look after the interests of her constituents first, even though her party supports the proposed link from London to the north.

The Conservative MP was speaking at a public meeting at the Misbourne School in Great Missenden about the controversial High Speed 2 plans, which has a path through the Chiltern hills as its preferred route.

An audience member asked her and fellow Tory MP David Lidington, whose constituency includes Great Missenden, if they would be prepared to oppose their party's political manifesto.

Mrs Gillan said: “The route isn't part of our manifesto, but I would defy the party whip – be very, very sure of that.

“My constituents come first to me in all instances.”

She added: “I believe this project will threaten the quality of our lives – not just now but for generations to come.

“If this route ever comes to fruition there will be a lot more than just the blight on the properties nearby. The implications for the area will be absolutely phenomenal.”

Mrs Gillan said completing the tunnelling project under Amersham and the Chalfonts would take five and a half years, with the one near Great Missenden taking four years.

She added the chalk streams in the Chilterns – the only ones of their kind in Europe – needed protecting.

“I will protect them until I can no longer do so,” she said. “They are surely worth protecting.”

She said the results of an environmental impact assessment – which must be carried out as a legal requirement – would not be announced until after the election.

Representatives from the Chiltern Conservation Board, the Chilterns Society and the Chiltern Countryside Group spoke at the meeting.

Hundreds of people were left outside in the wind and rain as the hall filled to capacity well before the scheduled start time (see link to previous story, below).

Buckinghamshire County Council's portfolio holder for transport, Cllr Val Letheren, was among the other speakers at last night's meeting.

She said: “We must all sing from the same hymn sheet. We must go out there and fight this, because I think we can win.”

Cllr Mike Colston, who arranged the meeting, said: “I hope to hand over the AONB to my grandchildren's grandchildren. When we are concerned about the environment, it seems perverse to propose what they are doing. It doesn't bear thinking about.”

Aylesbury MP David Lidington said: “We've got to focus on changing the minds of the Department of Transport and whoever is Secretary of State after the election. We must focus on the evidence to win the argument.”

He said it was “complete nonsense” to limit the link to between London and Birmingham.

The line could eventually be extended to Glasgow, cutting journey times between the Scottish city and London to three and a half hours.

As part of the route consultation, the Government has launched an exceptional hardship scheme for residents whose property value would be adversely affected by any building work.

But Chiltern District Council's cabinet member for transport, Cllr Nick Rose, said the scheme was “extremely perverse” and “outrageous”.

Comments (19)

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10:22am Tue 30 Mar 10

The Judge says...

WHAT ABOUT PROGRESS MS GILLAN?WHY DONT EVERYONE FACE THE FACT THAT YOU CANT THWART PROGRESS - VOTE FOR A PARTY THAT WANT PROGRESS - VOTE LIBERAL !!
JUDGE
WHAT ABOUT PROGRESS MS GILLAN?WHY DONT EVERYONE FACE THE FACT THAT YOU CANT THWART PROGRESS - VOTE FOR A PARTY THAT WANT PROGRESS - VOTE LIBERAL !! JUDGE The Judge
  • Score: 0

11:13am Tue 30 Mar 10

hondo says...

Bye Cheryl!
Your expenses would have caught up with you eventually anyway.
Bye Cheryl! Your expenses would have caught up with you eventually anyway. hondo
  • Score: 0

11:14am Tue 30 Mar 10

The DJ says...

But the HS Raillink is not needed. We are all for progress for things that will benefit all but this will not!
But the HS Raillink is not needed. We are all for progress for things that will benefit all but this will not! The DJ
  • Score: 0

11:15am Tue 30 Mar 10

The DJ says...

Ah yes, the first two posts on this are from people who this will have no effect on.
Ah yes, the first two posts on this are from people who this will have no effect on. The DJ
  • Score: 0

12:28pm Tue 30 Mar 10

one4all says...

Look after the interest of her constituents,
What a load of twaddle, i wrote to her about the increase in accidents after the turning off of the lights, she passed the buck. Is this a case of 'not in my back yard'?
Look after the interest of her constituents, What a load of twaddle, i wrote to her about the increase in accidents after the turning off of the lights, she passed the buck. Is this a case of 'not in my back yard'? one4all
  • Score: 0

2:30pm Tue 30 Mar 10

Malc London says...

I DIDN'T REALISE IT WAS THE LIBERALS WHO WANTED TO DESTROY THE COUNTRYSIDE AND SPEND BILLIONS ON AN UNNECESSARY RAILWAY LINE WHEN A PERFECTLY GOOD ONE EXISTS. THANKS JUDGE, I KNOW NOT TO VOTE LIBERAL.
I DIDN'T REALISE IT WAS THE LIBERALS WHO WANTED TO DESTROY THE COUNTRYSIDE AND SPEND BILLIONS ON AN UNNECESSARY RAILWAY LINE WHEN A PERFECTLY GOOD ONE EXISTS. THANKS JUDGE, I KNOW NOT TO VOTE LIBERAL. Malc London
  • Score: 0

2:40pm Tue 30 Mar 10

Timbers says...

MalcLondon - ALL the political parties (and the Chamber of Commerce) are in favour of high speed rail, because they all recognise that we cannot provide fast, safe long-distance mobility in this country either by more motorway building or by expanding airports to allow people to fly in our already-crowded skies. The Conservative Party are also in favour of building HS2 (although it has taken Cheryl Gillan MP three weeks to finally acknowledge this - and then only in a tabgential way, by saying she opposes her own party's policies). A high speed rail line is far cheaper, and far less environmentally damaging than a motorway - and I don't remember the protesters making this much fuss over the building of the M40, or the upgrading of the A41 to motorway-standard dual-carriageway. In any case, since much of the railway will be in a tunnel, people will neither see it nor hear it - so exactly how is that supposed to be "destroying the countryside"?
MalcLondon - ALL the political parties (and the Chamber of Commerce) are in favour of high speed rail, because they all recognise that we cannot provide fast, safe long-distance mobility in this country either by more motorway building or by expanding airports to allow people to fly in our already-crowded skies. The Conservative Party are also in favour of building HS2 (although it has taken Cheryl Gillan MP three weeks to finally acknowledge this - and then only in a tabgential way, by saying she opposes her own party's policies). A high speed rail line is far cheaper, and far less environmentally damaging than a motorway - and I don't remember the protesters making this much fuss over the building of the M40, or the upgrading of the A41 to motorway-standard dual-carriageway. In any case, since much of the railway will be in a tunnel, people will neither see it nor hear it - so exactly how is that supposed to be "destroying the countryside"? Timbers
  • Score: 0

2:58pm Tue 30 Mar 10

mumof2 says...

Has anyone else spotted that if the preferred route is not approved, the next preferred route will be tunneled under Hazlemere Golf course then on under the center of Widmer End?
Has anyone else spotted that if the preferred route is not approved, the next preferred route will be tunneled under Hazlemere Golf course then on under the center of Widmer End? mumof2
  • Score: 0

3:13pm Tue 30 Mar 10

miccles says...

mumof2 wrote:
Has anyone else spotted that if the preferred route is not approved, the next preferred route will be tunneled under Hazlemere Golf course then on under the center of Widmer End?
If this route came to light, would it not be better than the preferred route, as this seems to be mainly underground?
just a thought.
[quote][p][bold]mumof2[/bold] wrote: Has anyone else spotted that if the preferred route is not approved, the next preferred route will be tunneled under Hazlemere Golf course then on under the center of Widmer End?[/p][/quote]If this route came to light, would it not be better than the preferred route, as this seems to be mainly underground? just a thought. miccles
  • Score: 0

3:14pm Tue 30 Mar 10

Malc London says...

(My original reply seems to have vanished, so…)

Only parts will be in a tunnel, where it goes underneath villages, so the Green Belt will be affected.

Secondly, we already have a good rail link to Birmingham, this can be upgraded. It currently takes 90 minutes or so to get to Birmingham, and there are stops on route. The proposed plan may be quicker (45 mins) but you need to get to London first. From what I understand, the new line will not directly link with either the airport or the Eurostar? So anyone coming via Heathrow will continue to fly which will be cheaper and quicker.

To get people off the motorway, the cost of travel by train needs to be cheaper and more consistent. The new rail link will no doubt be expensive in comparison so will there be any demand?

At a cost of £35 Billion, it is more environmentally friendly to upgrade the existing route and subsidise the fares.

To be truly more environmentally friendly, we need to stop unnecessary travel.
(My original reply seems to have vanished, so…) Only parts will be in a tunnel, where it goes underneath villages, so the Green Belt will be affected. Secondly, we already have a good rail link to Birmingham, this can be upgraded. It currently takes 90 minutes or so to get to Birmingham, and there are stops on route. The proposed plan may be quicker (45 mins) but you need to get to London first. From what I understand, the new line will not directly link with either the airport or the Eurostar? So anyone coming via Heathrow will continue to fly which will be cheaper and quicker. To get people off the motorway, the cost of travel by train needs to be cheaper and more consistent. The new rail link will no doubt be expensive in comparison so will there be any demand? At a cost of £35 Billion, it is more environmentally friendly to upgrade the existing route and subsidise the fares. To be truly more environmentally friendly, we need to stop unnecessary travel. Malc London
  • Score: 0

6:03pm Tue 30 Mar 10

deecee01 says...

It's never gonna happen, waste of time worrying about it.
It's never gonna happen, waste of time worrying about it. deecee01
  • Score: 0

7:05pm Tue 30 Mar 10

chesham20 says...

Typical Tories complaining, As long as it's not in my back yard then it's ok. When it is doesn't they get their dander up. If you want to upset the Tories build a HS train track in their back garden. As you will here from the video they want compensation already. What a load of money grabbers..If it happens it might stop the illegal fox hunting...lets hope.....
Typical Tories complaining, As long as it's not in my back yard then it's ok. When it is doesn't they get their dander up. If you want to upset the Tories build a HS train track in their back garden. As you will here from the video they want compensation already. What a load of money grabbers..If it happens it might stop the illegal fox hunting...lets hope..... chesham20
  • Score: 0

7:59pm Tue 30 Mar 10

sparky49 says...

Hey Gillan if you cared about your constits, then what about the anti social behaviour on the tube around Chalfont and Chesham, great photos on the platform but no action, typical.
Hey Gillan if you cared about your constits, then what about the anti social behaviour on the tube around Chalfont and Chesham, great photos on the platform but no action, typical. sparky49
  • Score: 0

9:43am Wed 31 Mar 10

weyfarer says...

Of course you won't go against your party you silly loyal front-bench spokesperson MP, but you will say absolutely anything to make sure you get re-elected.
I hope they all see right through you.
Of course you won't go against your party you silly loyal front-bench spokesperson MP, but you will say absolutely anything to make sure you get re-elected. I hope they all see right through you. weyfarer
  • Score: 0

1:06pm Wed 31 Mar 10

Malc London says...

At the moment, it's the Labour Party driving this wasteful and unnecessary project.

Lets worry about what the Conservaties might do when they are in power.
At the moment, it's the Labour Party driving this wasteful and unnecessary project. Lets worry about what the Conservaties might do when they are in power. Malc London
  • Score: 0

1:08pm Wed 31 Mar 10

yog says...

Malc London wrote:
At the moment, it's the Labour Party driving this wasteful and unnecessary project.

Lets worry about what the Conservaties might do when they are in power.
That will be too late then the Conservatives are going to steam roll this project through 2 years faster than anyone else.
[quote][p][bold]Malc London[/bold] wrote: At the moment, it's the Labour Party driving this wasteful and unnecessary project. Lets worry about what the Conservaties might do when they are in power.[/p][/quote]That will be too late then the Conservatives are going to steam roll this project through 2 years faster than anyone else. yog
  • Score: 0

2:07pm Wed 31 Mar 10

JP80 says...

On the basis of there being a majority Conservative government, then there is still wiggle room for a handful of MPs like Gillan and Liddington to vote against party lines - any vote on the line will get carried anyway, if the party wants it to.
.
So the MP retains support of their constituents and the party does what it likes...
On the basis of there being a majority Conservative government, then there is still wiggle room for a handful of MPs like Gillan and Liddington to vote against party lines - any vote on the line will get carried anyway, if the party wants it to. . So the MP retains support of their constituents and the party does what it likes... JP80
  • Score: 0

6:51pm Wed 31 Mar 10

Wanda Brown says...

Cheryl Gillan? Doesn't she spend most of her time in Wales? I guess this HS2 thing must be somewhere close to her house in Amersham, because she sure as hell wasn't bothered when the residents of Hazlemere asked for her help with the proposed athletics track and the upset it was going to cause on our roads and our house prices, let alone the 60 feet high flood lights in our gardens. As someone else said, this has truly ruffled her feathers hasn't it? She's only in politics to feather a very large nest for herself, I asked her if she'd be donating the profit on her London home to charity when she sells it this year, because she wont win her seat in the election? She told me she'd think about it!
Cheryl Gillan? Doesn't she spend most of her time in Wales? I guess this HS2 thing must be somewhere close to her house in Amersham, because she sure as hell wasn't bothered when the residents of Hazlemere asked for her help with the proposed athletics track and the upset it was going to cause on our roads and our house prices, let alone the 60 feet high flood lights in our gardens. As someone else said, this has truly ruffled her feathers hasn't it? She's only in politics to feather a very large nest for herself, I asked her if she'd be donating the profit on her London home to charity when she sells it this year, because she wont win her seat in the election? She told me she'd think about it! Wanda Brown
  • Score: 0

7:20pm Wed 31 Mar 10

baza55 says...

In any other country people would embrace things like this. What I can't quite understand is why it wouldn't be built to link London,Oxford and then Birmingham. Of course then linking the Northern Citties before heading over the border.
In any other country people would embrace things like this. What I can't quite understand is why it wouldn't be built to link London,Oxford and then Birmingham. Of course then linking the Northern Citties before heading over the border. baza55
  • Score: 0

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