This is a guest post from VoxOpp.
“It is absolutely vital that villagers should respond to the Department for Transport’s consultation on HS2 by the closing date of 29 July”, was the message from Bernie Douglas, the Chairman of VoxOpp, at a public meeting last Friday (20 May 2011) at Finmere Village Hall. VoxOpp, an association of local people representing Oxfordshire villages most affected by the plans for HS2, organized the meeting to keep residents informed of the consultation processes under way.
Over 50 people were given an overview on some important details of how to respond to the questions in the consultation, having already heard that VoxOpp’s evidence to the Transport Select Committee’s inquiry into High Speed Rail had been accepted.
Bernie Douglas also advised local residents to visit the HS2 Road show, to be held at Brackley Leisure Centre on 27 and 28 May, and suggested they “ask as many awkward questions as possible, including about the noise issue”.
If current plans for the new ultra high speed railway go ahead, up to 36 trains an hour travelling at speeds of up to 250mph will run through the mile of farmland which separates Finmere and Mixbury.
James Del Mar of Knight Frank, the property consultancy with a team looking into issues related to HS2, then gave the meeting some background and guidelines on compensation. He told the meeting that, “The Land Compensation Act of 1973(1) was developed nearly 40 years ago and had roots even further back in the past. Clearly it was never conceived with schemes of this magnitude, and stretching over such a long time period, in mind”.
1. Latest revision of the Act. It still begins “An Act to confer a new right to compensation for depreciation of the value of interests in land caused by the use of highways, aerodromes and other public works . . .” and does not even mention railways. In 1973 it is unlikely that there was a great deal of interest in building new railways as government had been continuing to shut lines down since the Beeching report ten years earlier.