The clock is tick­ing on com­pen­sa­tion for HS2 blighted

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - COMMUNITY -

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.

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