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.

Details of the construction works in relation to the village set out on OS Maps can be seen by scanning down towards the foot of this page.

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.


HS2 Community Funds award £75,000 to Brackley Town FC for new clubhouse

Click here for full details.

One week left to cast your vote to help name the first two HS2 Tunnel Boring Machines

See here for full details of this interesting competition.

It has been suggested to me that this request is like asking Anne Boleyn to give a name to the axe that is about to cut off her head! I leave it to parishioners as to whether they wish to take part.


Welsh Lane road closure near to Aston-le-Walls

Click here for further details.

HS2 issues Notice to Proceed

Posted on Apr 16th 2020 by HS2 in Northamptonshire

On 15 April 2020, the Department for Transport gave approval for HS2 Ltd to issue Notice to Proceed to our four Main Works Civils Contractors (MWCC) working on Phase One of the project.

The issuing of Notice to Proceed marks the point in the MWCC contracts where work transitions from scheme design and preparatory work, to full detailed design and construction of the railway between London and the West Midlands.

You can find further information on both gov.uk and the HS2 website.

The four contractors along the phase one route – SCS Railways, Align JV, EKFB JV and BBV JV – will start the second stage of their contracts immediately, progressing detailed design, site preparation works and placing important sub-contracts. During this period, our contractors are continuously reviewing their ability to work within Public Health England guidelines to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of our workforce and the communities in which we are working.


HS2 Construction gets the green light despite lockdown

Owing to the coronavirus pandemic, work at the majority of HS2 sites is to be paused while a review is carried out to ensure that all activities comply with Public Health England guidelines.

Read more here.

Installation of a Construction Compound   

The above map shows the location of a construction compound to be installed in Spring 2020. It will comprise temporary offices, welfare facilities, car parking and HGV access. At a later stage the site will also accommodate a concrete batching plant. Once the railway is built the compound and associated facilities will be removed and the area returned to farmland.

For ease of reference, the entrance to this site will be approximately 750 metres south of the Magpie Junction along the road to Marston St Lawrence (just opposite the sign indicating the footpath to Stuchbury).

Click here to see the formal Notification for these works, copies of which will be distributed in the village shortly.


A Consultation Document has now been published by HS2 in respect of the Common Design Elements of the Railway. Comments are required before 30th January 2020. See here for details.


HS2 site walk and Q&A session.

Villagers at the crossing point of the proposed HS2 railway line and the road from the Magpie to Marston-st-Lawrence during a walk and site visit with the Contractor’s engineers. 

During the visit it was announced that that there was a possibility of the reinforced concrete sections for the tunnel under the green cutting being constructed on site at the Satellite Compound near Magpie Farm. Several villagers expressed concern about the possibility of continuously noisy and dusty manufacturing operations close to Sulgrave, possibly with large silos for the materials.

Subsequently, clarification was sought by email and this was the response from Chris James of Eiffage Kier JV:

With regard to the points that you raise:

  • I explained that the tunnel construction was expected to be precast concrete.  The precast units will be delivered from a manufacturer in the NE of the country, deliveries will travel down the M1 and then West along the A43.  One of the reasons for selecting this option is that this method reduces the number of traffic movements on the highway.
  • I also explained that we intended to set up a concrete batching plant in our compound at the magpie junction area.  This will be within the area allocated for a construction compound.  Concrete will be made at the batching plant and then distributed along the site access road that we will have constructed and used in concreting activities aside from the precast elements.  Again, one of the key reasons for doing this is to reduce traffic movements on the highway.  I made a particular point to emphasise how well controlled these operations are and they will not impact on Sulgrave from a dust and noise perspective. I have set concrete batching plants up in residential areas and the silos are sealed and regulations are strict that set out how these activities are operated.

I hope this addresses your queries though do let me know if you have any further questions Colin,

Best regards


Latest news from HS2 (August 2019)

31st March 2019. Ministry delay signing off first half of spending for HS2 by six months,

Report from Daily Telegraph: Ministers have delayed signing off on the first half of spending for High Speed 2 over concerns about the project’s spiralling costs, The Telegraph can disclose.

A formal “notice to proceed” on the major construction works for the first phase of the project has been put back six months until December – suggesting the government-owned firm behind the scheme will miss its target begin building its tunnels, viaducts and bridges later this year.

The order, which would have unlocked up to £27 billion for the first phase of the line, was due to be issued in June.

But HS2 Ltd is struggling to keep costs contained within the overall budget of £56 billion, meaning ministers will not allow the firm to enter agreements with contractors to begin construction based on the current design.

A Whitehall source said the delay came after Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary made “very clear to HS2” that they must stick to the budget.

Note: This delay does not apply to enabling works such as the improvements to the junction between the B4525 and Sulgrave Road, Greatworth currently being undertaken.

Click here to read the full Telegraph article.


Latest update from HS2 – 20th March 2019

News Update: Funding awarded to improve Marston St Lawrence Village Hall.

Grant Aid from HS2 Community and Environment Fund approved for Church Hall Improvements.

Appointment of  an agricultural contact to deal with problems and requests connected with the works:


Nick Smith (EK)

Agricultural Liaison Officer

Mobile: +44 (0) 7824 461397


Latest from HS2 Management – October 31st 2018

Preliminary works are taking place near to the village, such as drilling for soil and subsoil samples, the establishment of compounds and setting out. It is anticipated that the contractors will commence the actual construction work in the Sulgrave area, comprising the Greatworth green tunnel and associated road bridges, in the second half of 2019. However, it seems that there is still much work to be done to finalize the design, programme and construction methodology.

The improvement work to the Greatworth junction with the B4525 should start in the new year, commencing with a compound set up and then progressing to the new junction layout. Misleadingly for Sulgrave inhabitants, both HS2 and the contractors continue to call this the “Sulgrave Junction”, presumably because the road between Greatworth and the B4525 is known as “Sulgrave Road”. This work should be completed by spring 2019. Just to reiterate that no improvement works are proposed for the Magpie junction.

The main impact of the construction work on footpaths in Sulgrave Parish involves footpath AY12, which commences just over half a kilometre south of the Magpie on the road to Marston St Lawrence. For almost 300 metres this footpath heads south east along the line of the hedgerow which encloses what might be called the large Magpie field. It then joins the footpath along the double hedgerow leading due east to the Stuchbury cottages. Footpath AY12 is right on the edge of the land to be taken for construction. Its fate is currently undecided and will be in the hands of the contractors. It may be that they can complete the work without disturbing it or they may apply for a closing order. Hopefully it will remain open at least until the middle of next year and possibly permanently.

Click here for latest information from HS2 (30th September 2018)

HS2 Community Engagement Meeting in the Church Hall on Thursday 27th September, 7 to 9 pm.

Parish Councillor Anna Faure writes:
HS2 and Eiffage Kier have committed to present their strategy for the works schedule and logistics impacting Sulgrave and the surrounding locale of HS2 on the 27 September 2018 at 7pm. The meeting, which will take place in Sulgrave village hall, will comprise a presentation by them, followed by an open forum Q&A session. All are invited to attend. In the interests of keeping the meeting as objective and efficient as possible, and also to address all concerns, please post questions in written form to the Sulgrave village shop or through my letter box or via email to [email protected] in advance so that I can prep the speakers. We can take questions from the floor on the night as well otherwise, but these will be lower priority if time is a factor.
I will assume that if you have a question, you intend to attend (if not, let me know). If you don’t have a question, but intend to attend, please let me know.

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 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.



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.




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.




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.


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.



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.



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.




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


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

May 2011


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

Dec 2012


Consultation on compensation proposals.

May 2013


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

December 2013


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

February 2014


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

April 2017


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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