Burton Green Residents’ Association remaining defiant against HS2

Rona Taylor, Faith Ward and Diane Swindells divide the celebration cake
Rona Taylor, Faith Ward and Diane Swindells divide the celebration cake

Burton Green Residents’ Association celebrated its 60th anniversary at its recent annual general meeting and remained defiant in spite of the village hall where it meets being set to be demolished to make way for the high-speed rail line HS2.

Rona Taylor, the chair of the association, said that the association would endure for hundreds of years and would not let the threat of HS2 bring down the spirits of its members.

The residents’ association will continue stronger than ever.

Rona Taylor

She said: “Despite all the pressure that HS2 brings the community spirit is tangible and high.

“In fact, it’s higher than it’s ever been.

“The residents’ association will continue stronger than ever.”

Several members of the association turned out at the village hall to celebrate the anniversary, and enjoyed wine donated by Liz Saxon, whose parents moved to the village in the 1950s and were very active in the early incarnations of the residents’ association.

Additionally, cakes baked by Vicki Aizlewood were enjoyed by members.

A replacement village hall will be built on Red Lane once HS2 has been constructed.

HS2 has been one of the most pressing issues the association has campaigned about since it was founded in 1955.

Burton Green is one of the most heavily-affected villages on the proposed high-speed rail line running from London to Birmingham, with 61 homes and buildings falling within 120 metres of the proposed track, including the original village hall on Hodgetts Lane which has stood since 1923.

The former chair of Burton Green Residents’ Association, Archie Taylor, had previously said the government project would bring a “devastating and irreparable” impact to the village.

Despite petitions from the association for a deep-bore tunnel which would run underneath the village, HS2 is set to bisect Burton Green completely.

According to Mr Taylor, without a deep-bore tunnel to divert tracks away from the village, there is no way to save the community.

In March 2015, MPs on the HS2 Select Committee rejected the association’s petition for a tunnel, citing the difference in cost between that and the initially proposed ‘cut-and-cover’ tunnel.

The committee believed the tunnel did not represent value for money.

Many former residents have left the village in anticipation of HS2, including the former England goalkeeper Peter Shilton and his family.

Mr Taylor previously said: “It is a significant number already, and there are many more trying to sell.

“These people either wanted to leave anyway, or want out while they can.

“The social fabric of Burton Green is being changed forever. It has already started.”