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High Speed Rail Link & The Heathrow Hub

2nd Aug 2010 Gay Brown reports:

A meeting held last week at the Bell Farm Hall was packed with local residents concerned about the planned HS2 service and its possible routing.  John MacDonald was there with Councilor Janet Duncan to explain the problems we are facing.

1.  The High Speed Rail Link ( www.hs2.org.uk  for details) and the planned hub to serve the airport.  Arup who are trying to develop the hub suggested that the hub would alleviate the need for a third runway but residents expressed opposing opinions that in fact it would merely add to the evidence put forward to justify a third runway at some point in the future.  The local concerns about the High Speed route (not properly defined on any of the information) was that the proposal was for 20 trains per hour, that means 40 movements per hour in an area which already has air quality problems in breach of national regulations.  There was talk of some of the route being through a tunnel under West Drayton and parts of Yiewsley and the waterworks site and parts of the Lizards being used as the hub terminal.  Parts of the route are even purported to be up in the air.  Talks of using existing rail lines are not correct since the HS2 will require a completely different gauge of track.  Any airborne track will have a devastating impact both visually and on noise and the pollution caused.
 
2.  The Hub has many tracks  including the proposed Crossrail, the High Speed Trains and tube links.
 
3.  Property values and the movement of property on the market in this area is only just beginning to recover from the threat of the third runway, this will have an even worse impact and over a much larger area to include Iver, Yiewsley and West Drayton.
 
4.  The Local Development Framework (replacement for the UDP our local planning policies) was due for consultation finishing on 30th July, however comments sent to Jean Palmer at ldfconsultation@hillingdon.gov.uk  should still be considered.  The residents of the south of the Borough, particularly Yiewsley and West Drayton should be extremely concerned over the changes to the designation of areas within the Yiewsley and West Drayton area.  To begin with we seem to have lost the red spotted area which designated us an area of health deprivation though residents will note that absolutely no improvements have happened on that front and the promised health center for Yiewsley (12 years now) has still not been accomplished. 

Also though the opportunity area which was before covering parts of Hayes and Stockly appears to have been redefined to include the residential areas surrounding the High Street Yiewsley and Station Road West Drayton.  This area will be a red flag for developers who are looking to put up high rise blocks of flats and hotels.  We have already had such developments suggested on the Harrier House site and objected to it three times already.  The Yiewsley Community Involvement Group put a petition into the Council signed by a thousand residents against the area becoming a high rise area and at the hearing of the petition we were assured by Councilor Burrows that the Council would not consider anything higher than three floors appropriate in our area.  They wanted to be patted on the back for having turned down the majority of the ten high rise applications submitted over the past two years.  We pointed out that the applications had been turned down because the community had voiced their concerns and put up a solid case against the development with planning policies to back their objections - not because of any sense of inappropriateness from the Council's Northern Planning Committee.  It was this committee that passed the Tesco application (which has been turned down at appeal).  Those passing will see now just how high that building will be (more than a three story office block that's for sure).
 
5.  John MacDonald promised to keep the public up to date with the plans and objection points on the HS2 and Hub.

Gay Brown

Also see Gazette article