Today the HS2 Select Committee has published its first interim report which summarises the decisions and observations of the HS2 Select Committee so far.
The HS2 Committee has been hearing petitions from those specially and directly affected by the project which included residents from Harefield.
The Interim report even makes special commendation to petitioners from Harefield for their approach in front of the Committee, avoiding repetition and ensuring the maximum impact;
“41. It is crucial for petitioners who wish to make an impact on the Committee to avoid rehearsing points already made by others in the same area. That is assisted if petitioners view previous session,41 and are present in the committee room throughout the day on which they are due to appear. Petitioners who form groups to share issues between them will avoid repetition and maintain credibility and individual colour to their case. We commend several groups of petitioners already heard, including those from Hampton-in-Arden, Burton Green, Ufton, Long Itchington and Harefield, for adopting this approach. We have generally found it helpful when parish councils or similar bodies have taken a lead.”
The Report confirms again the dropping of the Heathrow Spur and acknowledges the question of blight surrounding the issue:
“71. We will be only part way through hearing petitions from this area when Parliament dissolves. Furthermore, certain issues raised by petitioners from the Colne Valley are connected with Chilterns issues. We reserve judgment on these petitions. The Heathrow spur has been abandoned but passive provisions remain in the Bill to safeguard against a change in policy in the longer term, and these are illustrated in associated maps. Passive provisions may be sensible, but whether they are really needed should be reconsidered after the final report of the Airports Commission. The risk of a continuing perception of blight should be monitored.”
Finally regarding compensation the Committee states, from the evidence it has seen so far, it wants “to see the Need to Sell Scheme working—effectively and fairly—long before the end of the Select Committee process.” Although it admits “applicants may have to accept some element of detriment, there must be “substantial improvements.” The report states that the primary aim of the scheme must be to give many residents the confidence to stay, ensuring continuity and coherence within their communities.”
The Committee also confirms that they have not ruled out the possibility of implementing a property bond scheme if “such improvements are not forthcoming.” This is welcome news to many.
The full response can be read here