David expresses his concerns about HS2 to the Oakervee Review

David met Mr Douglas Oakervee, Chairman of the Oakervee Review into HS2 and Lord Tony Berkeley to discuss his concerns about HS2. David said:

Yesterday (Tuesday 8 October) I met the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Independent Review of HS2, Douglas Oakervee and Lord (Tony) Berkeley. During a 45 minute meeting, I made clear to them my strong preference for HS2 to be scrapped altogether.

I repeated my long held belief that the business case on which the project is founded is weak. In particular, I expressed my scepticism about calculating economic benefit on the basis of the accumulated minutes of travelling time that were forecast to be saved through faster journeys and pointed out too that HS1 (the high-speed channel route) has never come near to attracting the number of passengers originally forecast.

I said too that while the Review was taking place all enabling works on HS2 should cease, a point that I have made directly to the Secretary of State for Transport.

If the Review and the Secretary of State for Transport concluded that HS2 should go ahead, then I said I wanted three improvements in particular to the scheme as currently proposed.

First, the mined tunnel proposal for Wendover should be incorporated into the HS2 project. Such a step would mitigate considerably both the noise and visual impact of HS2 upon the village and surrounding area. This tunnel proposal is supported by a detailed technical case commissioned by residents in Wendover.

Second, I asked that the Review demand a step change in the quality of HS2 Ltd’s engagement with members of the public. Like other MPs representing constituencies along the route, I have a file of cases where compensation has been paid late, where information has been withheld or where HS2 has simply failed to provide an adequate explanation of its decisions. There is no excuse for the highhanded and arrogant manner in which too often HS2 treats people whose lives are being disrupted by the project even ahead of construction.

Third, I pointed out that people living between London and Birmingham for the most part get no direct benefit from HS2 because there is no intermediate station. This contrasts with HS1, where Javelin trains carrying commuters are allowed to use the high-speed tracks, making it easier for people in towns like Folkestone to travel to and from London. So I pressed Mr Oakervee and Lord Berkeley to recommend at least one intermediate station between London and Birmingham if HS2 were to go ahead. The logical location for such a station would be where it is planned that HS2 and the Oxford Cambridge railway line should cross.

A letter to Transport Secretary about the HS2 Oakervee Review

David has written to the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to find out the terms of reference for the Oakervee Review into HS2. David has put a number of specific questions to the Transport Secretary about the scope and power of the review.

David said: I have written to the new Transport Secretary Grant Shapps regarding the Oakervee Review. As I have said, the Review must be given the correct terms of reference to allow a full, in-depth look at the business case for HS2. I have also asked whether the terms of reference will give Mr Oakervee the power to recommend that scheme is scrapped

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Wendover Woods Woodland Hub

David thought that you would be interested to know that Wendover Woods was sucessful in securing a £450,000 grant from the HS2 Community & Environment Fund. This grant will benefit the Wendover Woods Recreational Development project by providing a multipurpose recreational centre for people visiting the area. 

"The new building will incorporate a café with 100 indoor covers and outdoor seating for 200 (open to all), an adaptable interpretation space and 23 toilets including fully accessible units. The site currently has a small café which opened in 2006 which caters for 30 indoor covers, a car park with 220 spaces and toilet provision including a temporary toilet unit. It offers car parking, café and toilet facilities for those wishing to access the woodland for walking, cycling and picnicking or more adventurous play such as the Go Ape high ropes experience. The existing café building will be used as an information point and the existing toilet block as a store and pay shelter for the car park once the new hub building is in place."

If you would like to read more about this funding click here. 

 

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Homeowner Payment Scheme

David thought you would like to see this letter from the Department of Transport, announcing updates to the Homeowner Payment compensation scheme for HS2. If you live between 120 and 300 metres away from the Phase 1 line you may be eligible for compensation. If you would like to read more about this or apply click here. 

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Updated guidance on the Need to Sell scheme

As you may know the Need to Sell scheme is one of the ways in which many of my constituents are seeking compensation for the HS2 scheme. The Department for Transport have released updated guidance to the scheme which you may be interested in.

You can find a written statement on the guidance here:

www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2016-05-26/HCWS18

You can read in more detail about the changes here:

www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/525850/west-midlands-crewe-property-consultation-2015-web-version.pdf

In particular constituents may be interested to learn about changes to allow them to choose one of the valuers for the need to sell scheme:

‘Valuations for NTS and RSZ - Applicants will now be able to choose any Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) registered valuer as one of the two initial valuers. The second will continue to be from HS2 Ltd’s panel of RICS registered valuers. Should a third valuation be necessary (if the initial two are more than 10% apart), the applicant will now be able to choose the third valuer from the HS2 Ltd panel6. This change will be extended to the exceptional hardship scheme where it continues to operate on the remainder of Phase Two.’

If you have any questions regarding these changes do not hesitate to get in touch with my office at 020 7219 3432, alternatively you can email me at david.lidington.mp@parliament.uk

Petitioning the Lords Committee on HS2

As you may know, in the run up to the Lords Select Committee on HS2 a number of people who have petitioned to appear before the Committee have received letters stating that their “locus standi”, or right to appear before the Committee, has been challenged.

If you have received one of these letters, it is important to understand that this does not mean that you will be unable to petition. What it means is that in order to secure the right to petition, you will have to appear in an initial hearing on your locus standi, where you will be able to make the case to the Committee as to why you should be allowed to petition. If you are successful, you will then have a subsequent hearing to petition on the HS2 Bill as normal.

If you are unclear on any part of this process, or you have any questions, please get in touch with my office on 020 7219 2514, or at david.lidington.mp@parliament.uk and I will be happy to discuss your options.

Yours,

David