Whilst Additional Provision 2 to the HS2 Hybrid Bill had few surprises to those living along the main route of HS2, there was one big shock off, the decision to incorporate moving the Heathrow Express depot to the banks of the Slough Arm of the Grand Union Canal, between Iver and Langley.
This is completely unreasonable on so many different levels. Most obvious is that Heathrow Express is not part of HS2, the movement of this depot really has no business being in the HS2 Hybrid Bill, but for Government it does have the handy bonus of subverting the normal planning process which such an application would have to go through. It’s also completely unreasonable that this has been dropped on residents at the last minute. This has happened because HS2 Ltd have decided to take over the Heathrow Express depot at Willesden Junction as part of a land grab, but surely they must have known this was coming ages ago?
Everyone on the actual route of HS2 had countless consultations to respond to, all of which were ignored, and more importantly about four and a half years to prepare for the only chance to actually be heard about the proposals, petitioning the Hybrid Bill Committee in Parliament.
And this is the important bit, whilst HS2 Ltd will direct people to respond to the consultation, forget it. Anyone responding to the consultation will be ignored, that is if there aren’t a mass of lost responses, which HS2 Ltd have managed three times now. To put things into context, only 1 person out of 4970 thought the compensation scheme was adequate in a 2014 consultation, but the scheme as proposed is now in effect.
The bottom line is that anyone who is concerned about this proposal doesn’t have until the 28th August deadline to respond to the consultation, if they want anyone to actually listen, they only have until 14th August to submit a petition to Parliament, which not only has to be written in archaic language and hand delivered to Westminster, but also costs you £20 for the privilege.
I would suggest the first point anyone makes in these petitions is that moving the Heathrow Express depot has no business being in the HS2 Hybrid Bill, and it should be thrown out this process. A guide to how to petition the Hybrid Bill can be found at https://stophs2.org/petitioning