The latest comments from HS2 chair, Allan Cooke, show a bizarre lack of knowledge of the railway system from the people pushing the £55.6 bn HS2 project.
Stop HS2 chair, Penny Gaines, responded to the latest HS2 Ltd press release, which claims football fans will benefit from HS2. She said
“HS2 Ltd are clearly hoping to bamboozle ordinary football fans and making claims that are not based on the real railway network. When I lived in Watford, close enough to the stadium that I could hear the cheering when they scored, I used to regularly travel from Watford to Wembley.
“There are already direct services from Watford to Wembley Central taking about 25 minutes on the London Overground, and the number of possible services on this line will not be affected at all whether HS2 is built or consigned to the dustbin.
“What’s more we’ve previously been told by Philip Hammond that a factory worker from Manchester might never be able to afford the fares on HS2. Far from scoring with HS2, football fans should show it the red card and join our call for HS2 to be cancelled.”
Earlier this month, BBC4’s Any Questions was broadcast from Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire. Even there, the audience were clearly not in favour of HS2 – nor were the panelists.
A motion to call on Government to halt HS2 enabling works until Notice to Proceed is given has been passed by Buckinghamshire County Councillors with unanimous, cross party support.
Commenting on reports that comedian John Bishop sold his house to HS2 Ltd for £6.8 million, Penny Gaines, chair of Stop HS2, said
“The Government has to buy property to build HS2, sometimes because the railway or associated works will be going through the property. In addition, with strict boundaries, they may buy property from people who would otherwise be unable to sell their homes for a decade or more, because of the blight caused by HS2. This apparently includes the home of John Bishop, and as his family has been affected by HS2 it is only right and proper that he should have been able to sell it to them, for the amount it is worth.
“It is ridiculous to suggest that if you think HS2 is a bad idea then you can’t sell your house to them: the route of the line is fixed by HS2 and the government, and they don’t care what people in the affected communities think.
“The Government has swung between promising generous compensation, to claiming that value for the taxpayer is more important. The reality is that many people have had huge problems dealing with HS2, who try and make the process as difficult as possible.
“In addition to these residential properties, there are all the commercial properties which HS2 have been taking over. In many cases HS2 Ltd are taking commercial properties without compensating the business owners.”
Penny Gaines added
“The details of the properties show the sheer scale of destruction that HS2 will cause. Behind each of these properties, from small cottage to country manor, is a family who have had their lives upturned by HS2 through no fault of their own. What the figures don’t show is the immense difficulties that HS2 have caused to these people through their awkward and sometimes bizarre procedures that need to be followed for people to sell their homes through these schemes.