Residents of Ruislip, Hillingdon and surrounding areas are shocked that HS2 Ltd. is claiming Monday’s consultation roadshow was a success. Of around 600 people we met at our alternative roadshow, not one of the people who had attended the HS2 Ltd event was satisfied never mind impressed with the information available, the quality of the roadshow or the staff present. Most were angry, upset or concerned. It is ironic that HS2 Ltd held their compensation consultation on the same day the Judicial Reviews against HS2 started, which include legal action in relation to their flawed consultation last year, they proved once and for all that they have learnt nothing.
The whole roadshow experience did not start well as HS2 only told a very limited number of people about the roadshow.
HS2 Ltd. despite having umpteen staff failed to secure the venue booking that they made for the roadshow, lost the venue and had to change it after they had printed and sent leaflets – they wrote to a limited number of people about the new venue, certainly not everyone. They promised to have people at the “wrong” venue redirecting, reports from many sources are that this did not happen.
One couple who have a letter stating that their home will be demolished by HS2, did not receive a letter to notify them of the new venue – obviously not even worth a stamp!
That there were 600 people there was because thousands of leaflets were distributed by local volunteers about our alternative roadshow where we helped people understand the proposals.
A whole London Borough – Ealing – did not get a roadshow at all and had to share ours. Meaning people who have had compulsory purchase letters had to travel miles in December to talk to a member of staff.
So what was wrong with their roadshow –
- HS2 Ltd choose a venue with very limited parking.
- They publicising it badly, especially given the change of venue.
- HS2 Ltd had 2 hotel rooms with piles of the consultation documents and a set of very big maps pinned on a table.
- That was it – no displays, no extra info, nothing to read.
Many people were asking them why our alternative roadshow was better and had more information than theirs, despite being run by community volunteers!! And why they had found out about the roadshow from us and not HS2.
One “expert” had only been working for HS2 for 2 weeks and could not get any details correct.
It took 3 staff to answer a simple question about independent valuation of properties.
Their posters said find out “more” but when we asked what more can you tell us today that is not in the docs, they had nothing to add.
They have said in their press release people came to find out more, there was no more – and most people left confused and possibly misled by inexperienced staff. Some of the HS2 staff were giggling. Probably due to a lack of training.
The big maps were wrong, incorrectly numbering properties meaning that people were in some cases believing they were or weren’t safeguarded incorrectly. People were guided to and using the big maps. Smaller correct maps were available but not used much.
When we highlighted the error to HS2 staff they said – they have learnt from this for future roadshows and also that it was the printers fault!
At 8pm they were still using them!
Tthe above picture shows the large inaccurate confusing maps
The maps had also been printed incorrectly – using the wrong colours on one half for sub surface (tunnel) vs on the surface. So each half of their display had a different colour “key”.
The staff were therefore unclear and having to ask members of the public – “is it surface or tunnel where you live?” Which is exactly what some residents had gone to find out.
So the only specific thing used/made/printed for our roadshow was the big maps and these were confusing / incorrect and when HS2 staff knew this they failed to react or notify each other and continued using them and potentially misleading people all day.
They had no engineers present to help interpret the map, because the consultation was about compensation not the route. We asked about details of where the safeguarding zone is measured from – centre of the line etc and they couldn’t answer, lots of waffle and guesses but no answer. This is important because who is in or out of the safeguarding zone will vary in line with the route, but they have excluded people now from the consultation by using such a narrow 30m corridor in our area. People currently inside may end up outside and vice versa as the route is refined but at this key stage are not considered as safeguarded. They recently moved part of the route in Ickenham by 60m recently so this is a real issue. Their words were “our best estimate” and admitted the line is not set yet.
A key issue for the borough of Hillingdon is the Heathrow Spur which will be built in our borough, in the same place as part of the main route. Despite blighting peoples lives right now, and it being revealed today in court that it has only a BCR of 0.3, HS2 Ltd would not discuss it, or compensation for it, whilst in the borough. Leaving people affected by both phase 1 and then phase 2 in total limbo.
So in reality the roadshow was not very informative, not very impressive and sadly – not very surprising!