The clock is ticking on compensation for HS2 blighted
AT A time when we are starting to hear about the second phase of HS2 and now about HS3, there is no respite for people in the Chesham and Amersham constituency and of course elsewhere along the phase 1 route, who are still waiting to hear about compensation.
The Prime Minister promised me personally that the compensation scheme would be “generous and fair”, yet we are still waiting for the details to be announced.
Even after I raised this issue again in an adjournment debate in the House of Commons on October 21, there was no specific response with a date and full details of how compensation is going to be calculated. The Minister said “by the end of 2014” and so the clock is ticking, but with this vagueness we cannot be entirely sure that the details will be published by January 1, 2015.
People need to know what is going on. Their lives are on hold until the compensation package is agreed. We do need compensation to be generous and fair because people’s homes and in some cases their businesses too are blighted by the High Speed 2 project.
Other people living along the proposed route and that of HS3 will soon be facing the same kind of uncertainty as the people of the Chilterns are experiencing now. It does not bode well for any public project if the fundamentals are not dealt with properly. It is simply not possible to talk about generalities and the so-called benefits which may or may not accrue from the project as a whole, while people are waiting to hear the ‘what, how and when’ of the compensation arrangements.
The boundaries for compensation have been defined and drawn up, but it is evident that the blight caused by HS2 construction is not confined within the 120 metre band. People in my constituency know this all too well and so do those living in other constituencies affected by HS2.
Adjournment debates are an opportunity for MPs to raise issues which specifically affect the area they represent. Sometimes there can be only a handful of people present in the Chamber. That wasn’t the case with this debate, when there were many other MPs there, from urban areas as well as rural, along with the chairman of the High Speed Rail select committee who was observing the proceedings.