Summary of the HS2 Meeting led by Wardington Parish Council held on Tuesday May 19th 2015 at 7.30pm in Wardington Memorial Hall
In Attendance: Mr G Page (Chair), Mr N Bankes (Vice-Chair), Mr M Patterson, Mrs A Pascoe, Mr M Hickman (Clerk)
Apologies: Mr K Atack (District Councillor), Mr G Martin
Parishioners and Visitors: Approximately FIFTY
Mr Page presented the HS2 presentation. This can be seen here
Clerk passed a sheet of paper around during the presentation for all those who wished to be part of an action group to submit their contact details.
Following the presentation, the discussion was opened up to the floor. Councillors did their best to answer questions raised using the information currently known.
> What plan does the parish council have going forward?
Cllr Page: it is key that we get the Banbury Guardian involved with any future action. In terms of mitigating the effects of construction traffic on the road – traffic lights are the obvious solution but we know from installations in the past that these create too much congestion. Ultimately a bypass is the best solution.
Cllr Bankes: the best way to move forward is with the local MP’s involvement. Until the parliamentary process is understood any noise made is unfocused and less effective. An action group needs to be set up. The parish council alone does not have the numbers or the resources required to petition alone. By the way, another point to make on traffic is that there is a 70 acre industrial warehouse development being constructed at the M40 junction which will also compound traffic in the area.
> I have a family connection with local MP Victoria Prentis – this could be important
> Are the district and county councils committed to action? What have they said about it?
Cllr Page: As far as we know, that local authorities are not concerned. Chipping Warden parish council have worked for a number of years to secure the bypass so Wardington is behind in proceedings. Nevertheless there appears still a number of future opportunities to use for petitioning.
> We need to make it known to Oxfordshire Council how much we will be affected.
> Another worry is access for emergency services. Has any assessment been done on their access to the village when traffic is piled up on the main road? This needs to be done.
> Should our local representatives be held accountable for the lack of action so far?
> The negligence by Oxfordshire council in ignoring the effects on traffic as presented in the enivronmental statement could be cause for judicial review.
> In 2013 Cherwell District Council reported that they had seen the environmental statement and that they were looking at effects estimated to be caused from the rail line only. There was £50,000 aailable for mitigatory work associated with HS2.
> Why was the village not made aware of these funds?
> We do not necessarily need to rely on official representation. In my experience the parliamentary petitioning process is very effective e.g. Chipping Warden’s and Aston le Walls’ success. The people involved are helpful. There will be an opportunity to petition when the work on the Chipping Warden bypass begins.
> Can we recruit the help of Chipping Warden parish council?
Cllr Page: we met with Nigel Galletly (Chairman of Chipping Warden & Edgcote parish council) and he offered to provide assistance where possible. He provided details of contacts at Oxfordshire highways authority and HS2 Ltd that were particularly effective during their petition process.
> Should all of us write to Victoria Prentis then? And what is the timeline for activity?
Cllr Bankes: if as many people as possible write to our MP we will hopefully incite her swift invovlement. The second shot at something is never as strong as the first, so our first attempt at a petition should be a strong one. This is why a focused action group is imperative.
Cllr Page: it might be a good idea to discuss action with your district councillor too.
> An action plan needs to be agreed on tonight while we are all together otherwise there is risk that nothing will be done. I will set up a dedicated HS2 page on wardington.net. Contact details for the MP and other relevant authorities will be on there along with details of all of you who wish to be part of the action group. A copy of the presentation will also be available to download. Please make this available to neighbours and friends who don’t have access to the internet. Hopefully we can move things forward swiftly following this.
The meeting closed at 20:45pm.