High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill

Part of Speaker’s Statement – in the House of Commons at 6:31 pm on 28th April 2014.

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Photo of Frank Dobson Frank Dobson Labour, Holborn and St Pancras 6:31 pm, 28th April 2014

No, I do not think I should.

If the Government insist on Euston, local people want the new station to be designed to fit within the curtilage of the existing station. HS2 has failed to properly appraise such alternatives, including the double-deck down design put forward by local professionals, who also want the bulk of the space created above the station to be devoted to housing that local people can afford or low-cost units available to spin-off companies developing and exploiting products of the biomedical research organisations in the area.

In December 2010, Mr Hammond, then Transport Secretary, told the House:

“it is right and proper that individuals who suffer serious financial loss in the national interest should be compensated.”—[Hansard, 20 December 2010; Vol. 520, c. 1207.]

That promise has not been kept. The arrangements for compensation in my constituency are infinitely worse than those in the rural areas. Right-to-buy leaseholders—Mrs Thatcher’s children—will get compensation, but not enough to buy an equivalent property in the area. People living next to the site—within 5 metres, not 500 metres—whose houses are not demolished will not be entitled to a penny of compensation. That is ridiculous. Neither financial nor practical mitigation measures are being offered to enable the diverse communities in Euston to survive 10 years of turmoil. They do not object to the railway; they object to 10 years of destruction.