HS2 (HIGH SPEED RAIL) – LATEST INFORMATION

INTRODUCTION

High Speed 2 (HS2) is a planned high speed railway which is aimed to be the new backbone of the national rail network, linking London, Birmingham, the East Midlands, Leeds and Manchester. The line is to be built in a “Y” configuration, with London on the bottom of the “Y”, Birmingham at the centre, Leeds at the top right and Manchester at the top left.

The project is to be built in two phases. Phase 1 is from London to the West Midlands and Phase 2 from the West Midlands to Leeds and Manchester. Phase 2 is split into two sub-phases, Phase 2a and Phase 2b. Phase 2a is from the West Midlands to Crewe. Phase 2b will extend the project from Crewe to Manchester and the West Midlands to Leeds.

The line of this high speed railway will pass approximately 1400 metres to the south-west of the nearest house in Sulgrave Village.

See here for an Interactive Map of the Route.

The permanent installation of this page on the Village Website is part of Sulgrave Parish Council’s adopted strategy in respect of HS2. The purpose of the page is twofold:

  1. To provide the latest information on the progress of the planning and implementation of the construction works in the vicinity of Sulgrave.
  2. To provide a simplified explanation of the extent and form of these works and the implications for the village and its inhabitants.

LATEST INFORMATION

JULY 2018. The start date for High Speed 2 civils works has been delayed until June 2019, the Department for Transport (DfT) has confirmed. 

The notice to proceed (NTP) has been pushed back a further three months. 

Parliamentary under secretary of state for transport Baroness Sugg confirmed the delay, stating “Following consideration of supplier feedback, the HS2 Ltd Board has recently decided to move the date of Notice to Proceed from 1 March 2019 to 1 June 2019 in order to provide suppliers with additional time to optimise their designs.

“HS2 Ltd’s latest advice to government is that Phase One remains on track to deliver HS2 services by 2026 and within the agreed funding envelope, in accordance with the Sponsors’ Requirements as set out in the Development Agreement.”

HS2 Senior Project Manager Dave Williams writes (2nd August):……this does not mean that work will be delayed in this area. The Enabling Works contractor is in full swing and it will be this contractor who will deliver the works at Sulgrave, Chipping Warden, Wardington etc……in fact they are due to start mobilising for constructing Chipping Warden relief road in the next couple of weeks, having already completed archaeological works, surveys etc.”

Contracts have been let in respect of that section of the line which affects Sulgrave. With the demise of Carillion, the contractors are Eiffage and Kier. The contracts will be let in two stages. Stage One is a 16 month period to develop a design, a programme and a target cost for the construction of the works. Stage Two is for the construction of the main works and this is expected to take between four and five years to complete.

Scheme design is expected to be completed by December 2018, followed by a period of review and assurance, with the main civil engineering works anticipated to start in the Sulgrave area around Spring 2019 (subject to finalising the contractor’s programme of activities). The general civil engineering work is expected to be completed by 2023 followed by a two year period for the installation of the railway systems, signalling and overhead lines. Following a year of systems testing, the line is expected to be in use by 2026 or 2027.

There will be a number of preparatory schemes in advance of the main construction work, notably the improvement of the Greatworth Junction with B4525, as shown below. Villagers will remember the fatal accident involving a much loved Sulgrave resident a few years ago and the early improvement of this junction must be welcomed. Design work on this is in progress and the work is expected to take place in Autumn of this year.

Location of Junction.

 

Detailed design.

 

THE HS2 COMMUNITY AND ENVIRONMENT FUND (CEF)

The CEF fund has been created: “…… to add benefit over and above committed mitigation and statutory compensation to communities along the route that are demonstrably disrupted by the construction of Phase One of HS2 from London to West Midlands.” Communities coming into that category are invited to make applications for grant funding of up to £75,000, which is to be targeted at the voluntary/community sector, including residents’ associations, constituted community groups and so on. Possible uses of the grant funding includes the provision of enhanced or new community facilities.

Sulgrave evidently qualifies as a village which will be “demonstrably disrupted” by the construction works and which could certainly find a use for funds to the benefit of the community. With this in mind, an application for funds to improve the Church Hall is being made by Ingram Lloyd on behalf of the Parochial Church Council (the building being in Church ownership) and Councillor Anna Faure on behalf of the Parish Council, whose latest report on progress can be seen here.

A village meeting to discuss this matter was held in the Church Hall on Thursday 12th April. See here for details.

 

CONSTRUCTION WORKS IN THE VICINITY OF SULGRAVE VILLAGE

The engineering drawings for the project are necessarily complex and do not show the relationship of the construction site to Sulgrave village.

The map below has therefore been prepared so as to indicate on an Ordnance Survey base, which also shows the village, the approximate area of land potentially required during construction. This is not an HS2 document but has been prepared with reference to HS2 drawings CT-05-070 and CT-05-071

The works will be undertaken in such a way that the B4525 and the roads between the Magpie and Thorpe Mandeville (route to Banbury) and between the Magpie and Greatworth/Marston St Lawrence, will be kept open at all times. This will be achieved by the construction of road diversions as shown diagrammatically in blue dots on the map below. The Helmdon Road connection between Greatworth and the B4525 will be temporarily closed between points C and D on the map for approximately one and a half years during the construction period. It will then be re-opened on a new alignment 50 metres north of the current alignment. The Thorpe Mandeville to Culworth Road will be closed at Point E for between one and two months during the construction of the viaduct and then re-opened on its present alignment..

 

To the south-east of Point A on the above map the railway line will be constructed as a cutting at the foot of which will be a prefabricated tunnel. This will then be covered to form what is to be known as the “Greatworth Green Tunnel”.To the north west of Point A, the line will be in an open cutting between the Sulgrave Road and the Banbury Road and then on an embankment and viaduct crossing the valley at Lower Thorpe.

Representation of the method of constructing the tunnel at the foot of the cutting.

Excavated material will be stored predominantly on the NE side of the cutting and within the boundaries of land shown on the map below, where it will form a temporary “bund” which may be helpful in mitigating the noise of construction.

On the completion of the tunnel, this material will be backfilled and consolidated to the same level as the surrounding land. Topsoil will be stored separately and will form the final layer in returning the area to agriculture, together with new landscaping and tree planting.

This is shown diagrammatically on the map below, where the area to be restored to agriculture is shown in green and the area of the open cutting and viaduct is shown in blue.

More details of the area after the completion of the construction works can be seen on the HS2 map below:

See here for a bigger version of this map.

The sequence of operations for the construction and reinstatement of the Sulgrave and Banbury roads is likely to be as follows:

Construct temporary diversionary roads to Local Highway Authority standards, at existing ground level to bypass the construction works.

Divert traffic onto temporary diversions (this will be maintained until the new roads are complete).Excavation under the existing roads to railway line level.

Construction of short sections of tunnel/cutting under existing roads.

Construction of the new overbridges and new roads on or near the existing alignments.

Open new roads and remove temporary road diversions.

Construction of the remainder of the “Greatworth Green Tunnel” and restoration to agriculture.

Regular travellers to Brackley via Helmdon should note that just south of the Radstone turn, there will be a bridge over the new railway line, some 50 metres west of the present road alignment (Point “X” on the map below). The present road will remain open until this bridge is completed but the road between Point “X” and the B4525 will be a designated construction road for the duration of the works, shown in blue dots on the map.

 

See here for details of the Radstone crossing.

 

IMPACT ON LOCAL FOOTPATHS

 

Footpaths shown in blue dots will be stopped up for the duration of the works and re-opened upon completion. Other footpaths shown in small green dashes will remain open throughout.

The footpath between Points A and B on the above map is one of the most attractive in the village, following the top of a broad ridge with panoramic views of the village. It also follows a “double hedge” which is described in the Village Website Parish Appraisal as being “….at least 500 years old by Hooper’s Rule….including species which offer a virtual larder of fruits, nuts and berries for both birds and animals alike….” Those who have not enjoyed a walk in this currently tranquil area are advised to do so during the next few months…..

Photographs taken along this route were included in Parishioner Ken Christy’s Petition to the HS2 Parliamentary Select Committee and can be seen by clicking on these two Appendices to that petition:

Appendix 1 – Map showing the photograph viewpoints.

Appendix 2 – The photographs.

 

ROUTES FOR CONSTRUCTION TRAFFIC IN THE SULGRAVE AREA

 

Approximate line of HS2 shown in red. Roads designated on HS2 drawings as “Construction Traffic Routes” are shown in blue dots. No construction traffic through Sulgrave Village. Regional routes for construction traffic will be:

M40 Junction 11 via A361

M40 Junction 11 via A422 and B4525

M40 Junction 10 via A43 and B4525

M1 Junction 11 via A45 and A361

The detailed design work now being undertaken includes a determination of the construction traffic movements and the production of a Traffic Management Plan. This information will be published on this website as soon as it is available. For the present it should be noted that the HS2 Environmental Assessment for this area predicts that during the construction period “changes in traffic flows will lead to significant increases in delays to vehicle users and congestion at the junction of A422 and A361 (M40 Junction 11 to the east of Banbury)”

Despite re-assurances that construction traffic will not be allowed through Sulgrave, it is inevitable that there will be an increase in general traffic flows during the construction period. Whilst this will be unwelcome, there may be some compensation in the probability of additional customers for the Community Shop, The Star and the providers of overnight accommodation.

SATELLITE COMPOUNDS

A number of Satellite Compounds will be located in the vicinity of the village. These are shown on the map below:

The following information about each Satellite Compound has been extracted from HS2 documents but details may change as the design work progresses (construction traffic access routes to the compounds shown in blue dots):

1. Lower Thorpe Viaduct Satellite Compound

This compound will be used for civil engineering works only, adjacent to Lower Thorpe. The compound will be operational for approximately two years, start date to be advised.

It will support approximately 110 workers each day throughout much of this period; increasing to a maximum of approximately 190 workers each day during the peak period of activity. It will not provide worker accommodation. It will be accessed via Banbury Lane (the road from Thorpe Mandeville to Culworth via Lower Thorpe) from the M40, A422 and B4525 and/or the M40, A43 and B4525 from the west.

Demolitions will be required at two properties: residential property (Twin Oaks and two associated outbuildings) at Banbury Lane and residential property (Lower Thorpe Farmhouse (Grade II listed) and two associated outbuildings) at Banbury Lane.

Diversions of two roads will be required: temporary closure of Banbury Lane with temporary alternative route via Banbury Road, for a period of approximately one to two months, then permanent reinstatement along its existing alignment and permanent reinstatement of Culworth Grounds private access, 80m to the south via the new Culworth Grounds accommodation overbridge. A temporary alternative route for Banbury Lane footpath will be required, to the north for a period of approximately one year and six months to two years, adding an additional 600m. It will then be permanently reinstated along its existing alignment.

2. Thorpe Mandeville Cutting Satellite Compound

This compound will be used for civil engineering works only, adjacent to Thorpe Mandeville. The compound will be operational for approximately two years, starting time to be advised.

It will support approximately 30 workers each day throughout much of this period; increasing to a maximum of approximately 45 workers each day during the peak period of activity. It will not provide worker accommodation.

It will be accessed via Banbury Road from the M40, A422 and B4525 from the west. It will have an associated roadhead with access to/from Banbury Road for the receipt, storage and transfer of earthworks material route-wide (see Map CT-05-071). This storage area is on the opposite side of the road to the compound and is shown shaded in blue on the above map.

3. Greatworth Green Tunnel (North Portal) Satellite Compound.

This compound will manage railway systems installation works only, from approximately Greatworth to Thorpe Mandeville. The compound will be operational for approximately one year and six months, starting in 2022.

It will support approximately 10 workers each day throughout this period. It will not provide worker accommodation. It will be accessed from the M40, A422 and B4525 from the west.

4. Greatworth Green Tunnel Satellite Compound.

This compound will be used for civil engineering and railway installation works, between Greatworth and Thorpe Mandeville. The compound will be operational for approximately six years and six months, including civil engineering works for approximately four years and six months, commencing at a date to be advised and railway installation works for approximately two years and three months, starting in 2021.

It will support approximately 145 workers each day throughout the civil engineering works period; increasing to a maximum of approximately 235 workers each day during the peak period of activity; and support approximately 20 workers each day throughout the rail systems installations works period increasing to a maximum of approximately 40 workers each day during the peak period of activity. It will not provide worker accommodation.

It will be accessed via A43 and B4525 from the east and via the M40, A422 and B4525 from the west.

Demolitions will be required at two properties: two buildings occupied by two motorsport engineering businesses: Triple Eight Race Engineering and MP Motor Sport Ltd, part of the former World War II wireless reception and intervention centre at Greatworth Park; and commercial property (one building and one outbuilding at Dean Barn) near Sulgrave Road.

 

NOISE

It is difficult to estimate the probable noise impact upon the village of the works in progress. The best that can be said at the moment is that working hours will be restricted to 08.00 to 18.00 on weekdays and 08.00 to 13.00 on Saturdays. Given the nature of the local geology, it seems unlikely that blasting will be necessary in the excavation of cuttings. Some pile driving activity may be necessary but this is less noisy that was once the case.

 

AGRICULTURE

The contractors will have appointed agricultural liaison officers (ALO) to liaise with local farmers and landowners as the work progresses.

 

 

Much of the information in the above description of the proposed construction works is derived from the “London – West Midlands Environmental Statement, Volume 2 – Community Forum Area Report -Greatworth to Lower Boddington” Click here to access the report itself.

 

 

SEVEN YEARS OF LIVING WITH THE THREAT OF HS2

Despite huge efforts by many people at both national and local level, the threat of the construction of a high speed railway within 1400 metres of the village has now become a reality.

However, those efforts should not be forgotten and I therefore set out below links to relevant items which have appeared on this website during the seven years.

Sulgrave Parish Council  Petition to Parliament in 2016.    Following on from the petition, HS2 were directed to assure the Parish Council that there would be continued consultation as the design work progresses and the contractors are therefore contractually obliged to honour this assurance. A transcript of the hearing of the Parish Council’s petition, presented by then Councillor David Walker, can be seen here.

In the context of representations concerning HS2 made on behalf of Sulgrave, the dedication and hard work of former Parish Council Chairman Ken Christy should not be forgotten. Newer villagers may not be aware of his appearance before the Select Committee as a petitioner. See here for the very comprehensive case made in the petition.

 

February 2011

https://sulgrave.org/2011/02/beacon-lit-at-lower-thorpe-mandeville-in-demonstration-against-the-proposed-high-speed-rail-link/

News item about protest demonstration in Thorpe Mandeville, with full details of the “Stop HS2 organisations”

May 2011

https://sulgrave.org/2011/05/let-the-government-have-your-views-on-the-high-speed-rail-line-proposed-to-pass-within-1400-metres-of-sulgrave/

Government consultation. Full details of the scheme with maps and links to SNAG opposition group. How to make your views heard etc.

Dec 2012

https://sulgrave.org/2012/12/high-speed-rail-line-consultation-on-compensation-proposals/

Consultation on compensation proposals.

May 2013

https://sulgrave.org/2013/05/draft-environmental-statement-published-for-high-speed-rail-route-hs2/

Links to the draft environmental statement with an explanation. Notice of a meeting to be held at the Manor on May 28

December 2013

https://sulgrave.org/2013/12/final-consultation-on-hs2-high-speed-rail-line/

Final consultation on HS2. Maps and full details of the impact of the scheme on the area both during and after construction

February 2014

https://sulgrave.org/2014/02/extension-to-consultation-period-for-high-speed-rail-line/

Details of the extension to the consultation period with full details of impact on this area.

April 2017

https://sulgrave.org/2017/04/high-speed-railway-hs2-community-update/

Community update, what’s happening etc.

October 2017

Report on HS2 event held at Sulgrave Manor on October 17th.

 

Colin Wootton

Note: All extracts from OS maps featured on this website page are published under licence from the Ordnance Survey. All rights reserved.

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