Select Committee on the High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Bill: Second Special Report of Session 2015–16

Link to the Full Monty

Wells House Road, Midland Terrace, Island Triangle and Stephenson Street
"Old Oak Common and adjacent areas provide the construction site for tunnel boring both east to Euston and west to Northolt, as well as for development of the Old Oak Common station itself. Construction will involve essentially 24-hour working, with a continuously operating poil removal belt, and will extend over some seven to ten years, when the community of some 2,200 residents in Wells House Road, Midland Terrace and Island Triangle will be more or less surrounded by HS2 works. The Promoter’s counsel acknowledged that they are specially affected. Residents' concerns included noise, construction traffic volume, traffic congestion, access for residents and businesses, air quality, the location of a substation, viaduct height, reduction in the limited local availability and visibility of green space, and blight. They sought a dedicated community fund. Their case was pressed by Dr Rupa Huq MP, as it had previously been by the former constituency Member, Angie Bray. We note that, unlike areas certain other parts of the line that are heavily affected by construction, Old Oak Common will ultimately accrue some direct benefit from the proximity of the high-speed rail station to the locality, along with other important new infrastructure.

"London Borough of Ealing succeeded in obtaining wide-ranging assurances from the Promoter to seek to address construction and operation problems. The flyover for Great Western Main Line will have a noise barrier on the Wells House Road side. A temporary logistics tunnel will be constructed under Old Oak Common Road to permit spoil removal and delivery of material using rail. Closure of Old Oak Lane will be minimised as far as practical. Pedestrian access along it will be retained—including for pushed cycles. There will be a supplementary bus service along Victoria Road. Special provision should be made for vulnerable people; for example, to receive food deliveries.

"The project will evaluate whether HGV entrances can be kept away from homes. Other measures will include provision of visually acceptable noise barriers and noise-reducing hoardings, reduction of light pollution and pollution monitoring. Certain plant machinery will be locally insulated. Properties will be assessed for acoustic glazing, and ventilation requirements.

"Assurances to Ealing Borough Council also cover landscaping. Tree loss in Victoria Gardens and Cerebos Gardens will be minimised. It is important that the project provide a legacy of public open space and highways improvement in this densely populated area. Stephenson Street and adjacent roads form a conservation area next to the Euroterminal rail transfer depot which will be used for spoil removal and material delivery. The Promoter is considering ways to alleviate the long-term impacts of construction. Residents will be eligible for noise insulation if such broader mitigation cannot be implemented.

"There project will entail some unavoidable difficulties for this area. Worthwhile concessions have been won and more may be forthcoming.

Wormwood Scrubs
"Wormwood Scrubs will be the location for some utilities reconfiguration (a sewer rerouting). There was concern among local interest groups about adequate restoration after the works. We heard that, additionally, a permanent pedestrian access onto the Scrubs might be created in connection with the railway. The local Member of Parliament, Andy Slaughter MP, believed that this would be inconsistent with its use as amenity. We endorse his request that HS2 Ltd seek to reach a position of certainty on protecting the Scrubs, and offer appropriate assurances. We welcome the Promoter’s shift in position on the proposed broader mitigation arrangements at Wormwood Scrubs."

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