High Speed Rail Bill Select Committee: Statement by the Chair

18 March 2015

Statement made on 17 March 2015 by the Chair of the Committee, Mr Robert Syms MP.

1. CHAIR:  Order, order.  Good morning and welcome to the HS2 Select Committee where we will hear some more petitions but firstly I would like to impart some decisions, which we will also be doing tomorrow and on Monday.

2. The village of Burton Green will be bisected by the railway.  The Bill proposes a green tunnel which additional provisions will extend by 50 metres at both ends.  Petitioners argued for a deep bore tunnel or a short bored tunnel.  The additional cost of a deep bore tunnel would be somewhere between £179.5 million and £645 million.  The cost of a short bored tunnel would be between £28 million and £32 million.  Even allowing for possible overestimates we have concluded that neither option would represent value for money.  Additional mitigation proposed by the promoter together with other measures that we have suggested should help. 

3. A new proposal for relocating the village hall is being worked on.  We have requested that the promoter seeks views on location and that the HS2 Ltd budget for the new hall be generous.  The new facility should be open before the existing hall closes.  We have requested that the promoter suggests specific ways to support pupil numbers at the local Church of England primary school during construction and for one year after the scheme opens.

4. HS2 Ltd have proposed improvements to footpaths, including reduced diversion of the Kenilworth Greenway, which we welcome.  We have encouraged HS2 Ltd to maintain a dialogue with the Greenway Trust and with the local tree warden group.  It is important that the community sustain itself during several years of construction in the area and that properties acquired from HS2 Ltd for let be well maintained.  We have received a detailed and satisfactory report from HS2 on rented property maintenance in the area and we expect further reports in due course.  We will also be keeping an eye on the success of the Need to Sell Scheme as it operates in this area.


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