Correspondence with Alison Munro, about community forums

From: Keri Brennan
Sent: 03 September 2012
To: Alison Munro
Subject: HS2 community forums

Ms Munro

Following your comments in the Guardian this week “I don’t think they will be won over. I think the best we can hope for with people like them is for them to appreciate we’ve done as much as we can.”

Could you confirm there is actually any point having community forums for the communities that face to lose whilst HS2 benefits, if you’ve done as much as you can already?

I thought the community engagement process and detailed discussions about mitigation had only just started. And I’m sure I don’t need to remind you the proper compensation consultation hasn’t even started and we have all been blighted for over 2 years.

I also wonder what you mean by “people like them” – do you mean home owners who have worked hard all their lives to end up with a worthless/unselleable home whilst HS2 Ltd regularly award multi-million contracts to construction companies, villagers who don’t know how they will get from one side of their village to another when the line is built, people who are suffering from stress and anxiety and related, at times, terminal illnesses; people who want to move to retire or start a new life but do not qualify for the EHS through no fault of their own and shouldn’t have to; small business entrepeneurs who cannot plan ahead; or maybe you mean, elderly council tenants in Camden who have no idea where they will be living or how they will move when construction starts?

I look forward to your response as we have 2 community forums in the next few weeks with scores of local unpaid volunteers, including single mums, and carers of disabled people attending on their own time, with no expenses or assistance, and I would hate to think they are wasting their time.

Keri Brennan

From: Alison Munro
To: Keri Brennan
Sent: Thursday, 6 September 2012, 12:29
Subject: RE: HS2 community forums

Dear Ms Brennan

Thank you for your email.

I am sorry that the quote in the article has caused concern. As I am sure you will appreciate, the article did not include everything that was said. The particular remark you refer to was in the context of a discussion about my longer term aspirations regarding the views of people directly affected by the route, such as those whose homes would be demolished. My reply reflected my ambition that in due course people will feel that we have properly addressed their concerns and that we have done the best we reasonably can to minimise the effects of HS2.

We incorporated some significant improvements in the route that was announced in January, but I recognise that there are many issues still to address. I and my team are committed to continuing to give them due attention through the design development and environmental assessment work that we are currently engaged in.

The Community Forums are an important element of this and I hope you will continue to engage with us through those.

Yours sincerely

Alison Munro
Chief Executive

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