HS2 Ltd and Local Community Relations

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:15 pm on 16 March 2023.

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Photo of Bill Cash Bill Cash Chair, European Scrutiny Committee, Chair, European Scrutiny Committee 5:15, 16 March 2023

I am grateful to my hon. Friend Saqib Bhatti for giving me this opportunity to make a short speech. I have a similar problem to him. I have a dossier, which of course I have already passed to the Minister, who has kindly agreed to come up to my constituency. We have had 10 years of misery with HS2’s miscommunications, as we have struggled to navigate a clear path forward with it. Farmers have received plans that cut their farms in half, severing access to their land and property. Notices have been served as late as possible and with ill consideration for damage and jeopardy. We have had loss of crops and late payment of agreed fees, causing significant cash-flow problems and financial ruin. Land has been left in a deplorable state. HS2 has threatened to acquire “every area of land” with

“no assurance that any right of access will be granted in a substantive form”.

It has deployed unnecessary and intimidating security on farms that have been family homes for generations. In another instance, no offer of a price for a property had been made nine months after the valuer himself had been along to have a look at it.

The bottom line is that this is completely and totally unacceptable. The truth is that HS2 needs to be given a real rocket, and I look forward to the Minister doing just that. If he does not, and my constituents continue to live in the misery to which they have been subjected over all these years, it will be a disgrace. It is a disgrace already, but it can be rectified. I look forward to the Minister coming up to my constituency—north and south—so that we can have a proper discussion and he can see for himself how HS2 has let my constituency down.