Community engagement?

Contractors working for HS2 are again causing local upset by performing work without prior notification to the local community. The latest instance has been on the edge of Aylesbury (near Hartwell House) where ground investigation work is commencing. HS2 staff have claimed that letters were hand delivered to around 150 homes. If that had been the case, why were these local residents taken by surprise?

A week or so earlier, residents in Camden were also taken by surprise to discover that preparatory work was about to commence to enable the former National Temperance Hospital to be demolished. The local community was expecting the demolition to take place after royal assent is granted for the Phase One HS2 Hybrid Bill. However HS2 Ltd submitted a planning application to demolish this building prior to royal assent, and this was duly approved by Camden Council. The first stage of the demolition work is to erect scaffolding which can be a noisy operation. This work will be carried out over three or four weekends in October. It has been previously claimed by HS2 Ltd that weekend work would be avoided in most cases.

When HS2 were challenged about the lack of advance notice, they claimed that letters had been hand delivered to nearby properties around the National Temperance Hospital. An update from HS2 indicated that the circulation had been more restricted than first indicated. There is a Euston Community Representatives Group run by HS2, and it appears that they were not provided with advance notice of this demolition work either.

Some weeks earlier, contractors working for HS2 Ltd undertook ground investigation work near Thorpe Mandeville in South Northamptonshire. Again some of the local residents were not notified of this work before it commenced.

With a team of “community engagement specialists” appointed by HS2 earlier this year, one might have expected that communications would have improved……….

Comments are closed.