HS2 Update 5 Sep 2014

We have received the following update from the Buckinghamshire County Council HS2 team:

The Select Committee recommenced on the 1 September following the summer recess, beginning with an opening statement from the Chairman and petitioners from the Birmingham area. This update will provide further information on the Select Committee process, community support and information on our property compensation consultation response.

Select Committee

The Select Committee have now recommenced following Parliamentary Recess. The timetable has changed since it was initially released, with notable changes being that Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council will not appear before mid-October, and Staffordshire County Council’s appearance has been brought forward to the 14 October. The updated timetable can be found at http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/hs2/Provisional_September_proramme_11099_00092_170714144444.pdf.

In the opening statement the Select Committee Chairman stated that they may look into hearing petitioners from London and Colne Valley areas, moving away from the previously proposed North to South order. The timing for the London and Colne Valley areas could be immediately before the next elections (May 2015) (full statement at http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/hs2/oral-evidence/010914_PM_Uncorrected_Transcript.pdf – point 3). As soon as we get more information on this point, we will update you.

Transcripts of Select Committee sittings can be found at http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/high-speed-rail-london-west-midlands-bill-select-committee-commons/ These give a helpful indication of how the sessions run and can be useful to give an insight into how the committee likes the sittings to operate. For example, Chairman of the HS2 Select Committee Mr Robert Syms MP opened hearings on the 2 September by stating that “Before we commence, I reiterate that short submissions will find more favour with the Committee than lengthy repetitious arguments, and reading out of papers.” Therefore we urge petitioners to consider these comments when preparing for their own appearance.

Birmingham City Council petition

Those of you who have been following the Select Committee process may be aware that Birmingham City Council did not appear in front of the Select Committee, as they reached an agreement on their petitioning points with HS2 Ltd. Details of these agreements including a letter sent from HS2 Ltd to Birmingham City Council area available, and can be found at http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/hs2consultations (scroll down to ‘ Summary of Birmingham City Council HS2 Petitioning Position, the letter is at the bottom of this section). Although many of these issues are specific to Birmingham and Curzon Street Station, issues such as business relocation, open spaces and skills and training may be in line with petitioning points from Buckinghamshire, and may set a precedent.

Property compensation consultation

As mentioned in previous updates, HS2 Ltd is currently consulting on the most recent property compensation package and the consultation will be open until the 30 September. The Buckinghamshire County Council response is available at http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/media/2444667/HS2-Property-Compensation-Consulation-BCC-2014.pdf.

Additional provisions

HS2 Ltd will make amendments to the Bill as we go through the petitioning and Select Committee process. These amendments are called ‘Additional Provisions’. These will be advertised in local newspapers and accompanied by an environmental statement, assuming one is required.

In order to prepare for these additional provisions, the Government has tabled a motion to pave the way for their introduction. This motion is expected to be debated in the House of Commons on the 9 September, and the first additional provisions deposited on the 10 September. Notices are likely to be published in newspapers the week of the 16 September, with petitioning time expiring on the 17 October. Although we have been told that amendments will not be significant, it is worth keeping an eye out for these.

The first set of additional provisions relate to amendments to accommodate the requirements of landowners and occupiers; changes to the design works authorised by the Bill; and amendments to accommodate utility works. These amendments affect a number of parishes in Buckinghamshire.

Buckinghamshire HS2 Summit 8th October 2014

The Summit will be held on the 8 October between 10.00-13.00 at the Oculus, Aylesbury Vale District Council, Gatehouse Road, Aylesbury. This event is open to all residents and community groups across Buckinghamshire, and will cover a number of countywide concerns including appearing before the Select Committee and collecting evidence.

Booking to attend this event is essential and there are only a small number of spaces remaining. Please email HS2Blueprint@buckscc.gov.uk to register. If you have registered to attend, you should have received a confirmation email.

September local area HS2 meetings

We have started this round of local meetings.Those relevant to the Amersham area have already taken place.

Buckinghamshire County Council HS2 website

We have now launched our new website which can be found at http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/hs2. We are keen to have feedback on this so that we can ensure it is a useful tool for both people who have a limited knowledge of HS2 as well as those who are more actively involved.

National Grid contact details

National Grid have set up a Community Relation Team for HS2, which can be contacted by emailing info@nationalgridhs2.com or calling 0800 990 3561 (9-5 Mon-Fri).

Buckinghamshire County Council HS2 team:

Jackie Copcutt jcopcutt@buckscc.gov.uk Tel: 01296 383793
Alex Day alexday@buckscc.gov.uk Tel: 01296 382409
HS2 Blueprint Mailbox HS2Blueprint@buckscc.gov.uk