The past couple of days has seen Bucks Country Council leader Martin Tett giving evidence to the Hs2 Hybrid Bill Committee. What the evidence has shown is that he’s finally killed off the unsuccessful & financially wasteful 51M consortia of Councils and their equally unsuccessful ‘alternative’ to Hs2. To be honest, it was a mercy killing. 51M have effectively been on life support ever since the Hs2 Hybrid Bill passed second reading with a stonking 411 majority. Here’s their Facebook page which hasn’t been updated since June 2011. Tett and Bucks CC were the power behind the 51M throne & their major funder. How much this has cost local taxpayers was documented in a great bit of investigative journalism by Jon Harvey, a Labour Councillor in Bucks.
What’s also gone unnoticed by those opposing Hs2 is that Tett has inadvertently strengthened the case for building Hs2 with his evidence on building new homes in the area surrounding Milton Keynes and Bletchley.
You can read a newspaper summary of his evidence in the Bucks Herald
The article says that 31,000 new homes are planned to be built in Bucks and “these include building an extension to Milton Keynes and Bletchley, creating a new settlement of 4,000 homes – or both”.
This means that many of the people would benefit from the capacity Hs2 releases on the West Coast Main Line (WCML). Network Rail have previously pointed out how Milton Keynes is an important beneficiary.
Of course other stations on the WCML in Bucks also benefit from the capacity released by Hs2. You can find more details in this Network Rail document.
This is yet another big setback for the anti Hs2 campaign as it’s clear concerted opposition to Hs2 from Councils has collapsed. Even Tett is (late in the day) trying to make the most of things. This is leaving the anti Hs2 campaign increasingly isolated & irrelevant. Of the four groups leading the campaign against Hs2 (51M, AGAHST, Stophs2 & Hs2aa) only two are left. How long before the next one folds?