HS2 withdraw their misleading You Tube Video – Local Residents Respond
HS2 Ltd has removed a video posted on You Tube relating to its Compensation Consultation “HS2: Property and Compensation for London – Midlands” after a complaint by the HS2 Euston Community Forum that it was seriously misleading. The video was liberally illustrated by shots of streets and blocks in the Euston area. However, few of these residents stood to benefit from the six compensation measures outlined in the video.
HS2 is one of the biggest construction projects since the Victorians brought the railways into London. 80% of the homes and businesses to be demolished as part of Phase 1 of HS2, are in the Euston area. Many residents and businesses will suffer substantial loss for which they are being offered no compensation:
(i) No compensation is being offered to those who will live or work next to a building site over the 10 year period that the new station will be constructed.
(ii) Many residents will find their homes blighted for the next 14 years whilst HS2 is planned, designed and constructed. The government has excluded the area from the “voluntary purchase scheme” and largely from the “advance purchase scheme”.
To rebut the misleading impression that the government is offering fair compensation, Jane Gull, a local resident, has produced her own video. The film includes an interview with local resident, Stanley Johnson (father of the London Mayor). Mohamed Salique, who has a curry house in Drummond Street, speaks for the whole community when he concludes: “If the government cannot afford fair compensation, it cannot afford HS2.”
The video is available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqcKd6QiMKs&feature=em-share_video_user.
Jane Gull states:
“I made this film to give the people in the Euston area a voice. The impact HS2 on this vibrant and diverse community is devastating. All the residents and traders interviewed have a common complaint – “HS2 are not listening to us”.
Robert Latham, Chair of the HS2 Euston Community Forum states:
“The most dangerous untruths are truths slightly distorted. The HS2 video gives the wholly misleading impression that the government is offering fair compensation to those in the Euston area who will suffer serious loss in the national interest as a result of HS2. HS2 have illustrated the video with shots of the area, albeit that few residents will benefit from the six schemes which are outlined.”
Frank Dobson MP states:
“HS2 should ensure that anyone affected by HS2 is compensated fairly, fully and promptly for any loss of value or amenity arising from this project. The proposals in this consultation paper fall far short of these basic requirements. The Secretary of State for Transport has agreed to meet me so I can raise the concerns of local residents and businesses. Building a new station in a diverse, densely populated and high value area such as Euston raises unique problems which the current proposals signally fail to address. We need a new package of measures tailored to meet the particular needs of the Euston area.”
- The “advanced” and “voluntary” purchase schemes permit residents to require HS2 to acquire their properties at their unblighted value – in effect, the government acts as a purchaser of last resort:
- In rural areas, the advanced purchase scheme extends to all properties within a safeguarded area within 60m of the centre of the new line. In the Euston area, the safeguarding zone has been drawn to exclude most of the properties abutting the new line. It only includes those properties that are scheduled for demolition.
- In rural areas, the voluntary purchase scheme extends to all properties within 120m of the new line. The scheme does not extend to properties south of the M25 or to Birmingham. The government has failed to provide any rational explanation for this disparate treatment. Many believe that the real reason is to appease Tory MPs in the Chilterns. An alternative suggestion is that this is a cynical ploy to deny fair compensation to urban areas to protect the questionable Benefit Cost Ratios of the project.
- The response by the Community Groups on the HS2 Euston Community Forum to the consultation is available on www.camdencutting.co.uk. This includes 10 Case Studies illustrating those who will be left without compensation. Individuals are available for interview.