New role to over­see HS2 com­pen­sa­tion

Op­po­nents angry about ‘another big salary’

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Zoe Drewett zoe.drewett@trin­i­tymir­

THE search is on to find some­one to fill a new HS2 post that will help the peo­ple who are el­i­gi­ble for com­pen­sa­tion be­cause they live close to the pro­posed high­speed rail line.

HS2 is look­ing for a Res­i­dents’ Com­mis­sioner, an in­de­pen­dent role in­tro­duced in April, at the same time as the re­vised prop­erty com­pen­sa­tion pack­ages.

HS2 di­rec­tor gen­eral David Prout said then: “Peo­ple felt they were not happy to talk with HS2 so we will be ap­point­ing an in­de­pen­dent com­mis­sioner to hold the company to ac­count and set out how HS2 will be­have to­wards res­i­dents as the var­i­ous com­pen­sa­tion schemes get un­der way and to en­sure it meets the stan­dards to be set out in a new Res­i­dents’ Char­ter.”

HS2 says the char­ter will state what peo­ple en­ti­tled to com­pen­sa­tion can ex­pect from HS2 in terms of com­mu­ni­ca­tion stan­dards and per­sonal support.

It in­cludes a prom­ise to pro­mote aware­ness of the prop­erty schemes that are avail­able so that no one misses out, and HS2 has made a pledge to use clear com­mu­ni­ca­tion with plain, non-tech­ni­cal lan­guage in cor­re­spon­dence and pro­vide a timely re­sponse to all en­quiries.

HS2 chair­man David Hig­gins (pic­tured) said: “Bri­tain needs a new rail­way line to ease crowd­ing on the cur­rent net­work and to im­prove con­nec­tions be­tween our big­gest ci­ties, but it is es­sen­tial that peo­ple liv­ing close to the planned route un­der­stand what pay­ments may be avail­able to them.

“The res­i­dents’ char­ter and com­mis­sioner is our com­mit­ment to mak­ing that hap­pen. The com­mis­sioner is in­de­pen­dent and will make their views, find­ings and rec­om­men­da­tions pub­licly avail­able ev­ery three months.”

Lot­tie Jones of Ruis­lip Against HS2 said: “It’s appalling that yet another big salary is re­quired to over­see this sit­u­a­tion and it’s yet another ex­am­ple of how HS2 has failed to deal with res­i­dents fairly.

“This is some­thing that should have been in place from the start and will do noth­ing to help those who have al­ready been treated so badly by HS2.”

The Res­i­dents’ Com­mis­sioner is ex­pected to be ap­pointed by HS2 be­fore the end of the year.

More de­tails of the role and the char­ter will be avail­able when the fi­nal gov­ern­ment pack­age is an­nounced in De­cem­ber.

Photo cour­tesy of Tim Har­ley-Easthope

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