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HS2 banner row takes off amid threats by pilot
CAMPAIGNERS against HS2 have come under attack for putting banners, posters and signs in 'dangerous places'.
Dozens of signs, bearing the slogans 'Help Save Your Community' and 'Stop HS2', have gone up, and Hillingdon Council leader Ray Puddifoot said he was not about to take them down.
But Martin Chalk, an airline pilot from Bury Street, Ruislip, who said he did not have an opinion either way about HS2, has complained to the local government ombudsmen over the issue.
"They are, on the face of it, contrary to town and country planning regulations and should be removed by the council's highways people. Mr Puddifoot has wrongly issued instructions to leave them in place, despite their very unsuitable positions.
"What concerns me is not the debate over HS2, on which I am ambivalent, but the precedent of a proliferation of banners on any political subject with which the current council leader agrees.
"Would the supporters of HS2 be allowed to place similar large banners all across the town? Putting politically motivated messages next to pedestrian crossings - I can't think of anything that would damage safety more."
Mr Puddifoot made a staunch defence of the banners, most put up by campaigners from the Ruislip Against HS2 (RAHS2) group over the last year.
He said: "We asked Mr Chalk to specify which banners he thought were dangerous but he just said 'all of them'.
"We have looked at every single
one and, apart from one, they have all been legitimised by the planning committee.
"He doesn't seem concerned about all the other banners promoting theatre and special events. He can complain all he likes but this council will not stop supporting people against HS2."
Hillingdon Council has taken down one banner from a roundabout in response to claims it was distracting motorists.
Lottie Jones, chairwoman of RAHS2, was equally dismissive of the Mr Chalk's complaints. "I don't see what the problem is," she said.
"We have never put banners up anywhere that is dangerous for motorists. He has never spoken to us about it. We get a lot more people asking us to put them up than we do to take them down.
"The fact is the banners are far less unsightly than HS2 would be if it got built."
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