HS2 Ltd recently issued a press release about the community forums, in which they claimed that “the community decides who will attend the forums, not HS2 Ltd”.
But it’s becoming increasingly clear that whatever nice words HS2 Ltd use, they don’t really want it to happen like that.
For instance at the recent Dunsmore, Wendover & Halton community forum, a HS2 Ltd representative shocked attendees by saying that they’d rather not have anyone opposed to HS2 coming to the meetings.
Whether or not it would suit the HS2 Ltd staff to just have sycophantic railway fans along, that’s not community engagement.
The communities affected did not ask for HS2 tracks, they have been imposed on them. And that means in the forums, HS2 Ltd staff need to listen to people who don’t like HS2, who don’t like the changes HS2 will bring to their neighbourhoods, and who demand the best possible levels of mitigation from HS2.
(As it happens, everyone except the HS2 staff at the Wendover forum opposed HS2.)