UPDATE AT BOTTOM
Dear HS2 Ltd,
I have seen the feedback from last nights [Monday 19th March 2012] HS2 Community Forum meeting in Camden, where your CEO stated that further Community Fora would not take place during the ‘Purdah’ period coming up caused by the Local Government elections. As such I was just wondering why (though being witness to the way you have operated over the last two years, I think I know the answer) you have scheduled meetings which under your own rules therefore cannot take place?
As far as I can see, there are three possible non-exclusive answers;
1) You haven’t got a clue which places are having elections this time round.
2) You haven’t got a clue when Purdah starts.
3) You haven’t got a clue.
This year with the Local Government Elections taking place on May the 3rd, Purdah will start on March the 27th. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purdah_(pre-election_period). This means that the CFs you have planned for
Balsall Common/ Hampton-in-Arden: 28/03/2012
Castle Bromwich/ Bromford: 02/04/2012
Birmingham Interchange/ Chemsley Wood: 05/04/2012
cannot take place on the appointed dates due to elections in Solihull Borough. Coleshill Junction may also be effected, if you have gone across the county boundary with the membership there. I am currently unaware of any fora within Birmingham, however you may want to check on any such dates for up there too. A full list of places having elections can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_local_elections,_2012
The one I most want to know about however is the Stoneleigh – Kenilworth – Burton Green meeting. I am aware that Kenilworth Town Council (please note for future reference that that is ‘Town’ Council, not ‘Parish’ as you have stated in previous correspondence) have pointed out that Coventry City Council (along with the University of Warwick and Warwickshire Wildlife Trust) should be invited to these meetings as HS2 is less than 200 yards from the county boundary, and therefore well within the area to be covered by the Environmental Impact Analysis. I would like clarity on the issue of the involvement of Coventry, as if a representative of that council is expected to attend the forum meeting on 2nd April, it will also not be able to take place as they have elections on May the 3rd.
I would also appreciate an explanation as to why Coventry have not been asked to attend thus far, as it would seem their presence would be necessary as one of the supposed purposes of the forum is to work around issues concerning the Environmental Impact Analysis, which will take place well within their boundaries.
Campaign Coordinator Stop HS2 & Chair of the Kenilworth Stop HS2 Action Group.
UPDATE 29th March 2012
After five unanswered emails to HS2 Ltd including this one, a response from HS2 Ltd was finally received. On this issue of Purdah, HS2 Ltd said they checked with the Cabinet Office and they said Purdah was three weeks. That’s sort of right, in that purdah is three weeks in GENERAL elections. If they had asked the Department for Communities and Local Government (i.e. the right department for council elections), they would have said six weeks. The meeting in Balsall Common, which was technically illegal went ahead regardless. Additionally, Coventry City Council (as well as UoW and WWT) have now been invited to the meeting on 2nd April. Councilors from CCC have confirmed that they entered election purdah on 27th March, but of course have no option but to attend this meeting. The other thing which I completely forgot is that Burton Green itself is in the process of becoming an independent parish, which will happen after the May elections take place, meaning they are probably (as it’s a new council, we’re not sure) under purdah too!