From: Sheila Miller [sheilamiller55_at_yahoo_dot_co_dot_uk]
Sent: 21 April 2012 18:52
Subject: CELLAR UPSTAIRS CLUB: threat to our pub
Dear members, regulars and others
I want to draw your attention to the fact that the Exmouth Arms, where the Cellar Upstairs club meets, is under threat of destruction, along with the Indian restaurants in Drummond Street and all the streets in the area (I know some of you are aware of this already, but others may not be).
The threat comes from the proposed high-speed rail line to Birmingham, which will also damage a large area of beautiful countryside (the Chilterns, an official Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), which is very popular with walkers and others. The purpose of this rail link (called HS2 for short) is to knock about 15 minutes off the journey to Birmingham, which takes only an hour at present - many people question why this is necessary. There are also questions about the technology.
We're in our ninth year at the Exmouth Arms, and it's probably the best venue overall that the club has met in in its 37-and-a-half-year history. It is, moreover, much harder to find pubs with suitable rooms for folk clubs these days than it used to be; far fewer pubs have function rooms than used to be the case, and those that do don't generally want a folk club in their rooms on Saturday nights.
I'm asking you all to take some sort of action against HS2, whether it's just writing a letter expressing your oppostion, starting a petition joining the campaign against it, or whatever else you wish. There's a petition at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/353; it says on the page that it is due to close on 4/8/12, but that must have been extended, as it has just allowed me to sign it.
One of the bodies campaigning against HS2 is the HS2 Action Alliance (www.hs2aa.org), a non-profit-making organisation working with local community groups. Its website says that the total capital cost of HS2 is more than ?30 billion and represents a cost to every family of well over ?1000. It says,"HS2 is a waste of money and wrong priority.The business case is flawed. HS2 can't cure the North South divide.There are better alternatives to improve our railways.The environmental case has collapsed."
Another body, Stop HS2 (http://stophs2.org), says, "We oppose the HS2 High Speed Rail link, because the business case is based on unrealistic assumptions, the environmental impact has not been assessed, it is not green, the strategic benefits are questionable, and the money could be better spent on other things"
All the best