HS2 Told To Pay Up

Calls for Ealing residents to be compensated

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Residents' representatives with Ealing Council leader Julian Bell

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Residents affected by the High Speed Rail Link (HS2) through parts of Ealing should be compensated according to a new alliance.

Ealing Council has joined forces with Camden and Hillingdon to call on the government to grant “A fair deal for London” on HS2 compensation.

The alliance, set up by Camden Council, wants adequate replacement housing for people unable to live in their homes during the construction period, mitigation and compensation for residents who remain in their homes surrounded by building works and up front compensation for businesses to offset the loss of trade and property values.

Approximately 250 homes in Camden and 200 in Ealing could be made uninhabitable during the construction phase and when trains start operating.

As part of the campaign the alliance has sent a letter to Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin, and is asking people to sign a government e-petition calling for fairer and tailored compensation. The alliance is seeking to obtain a debate on the subject in parliament.

Whilst in rural areas, communities within 300 metres of the line will benefit from additional compensation, no such tailored approach applies in central London, where compensation is only offered to those in ‘safeguarding areas’ - zones which reflect planning process rather than actual impact.

In Ealing residents in the Old Oak Common area of Acton and parts of Northolt, are facing issues such as inadequate property compensation, concerns about air quality, loss of open space, noise and visual impacts, detrimental road closures and diversions.

According to HS2 Ltd.’s own Environmental Statement - 95% of homes have been identified as being significantly affected by either noise or vibration during the construction of HS2 are in urban areas. 91% of homes affected by night time noise during the construction of HS2 are in London. Areas of London will experience up to 590 extra HGV journeys per day during construction.

Amanda Souter, chair of Wells House Road Residents’ Association in Old Oak Common said: “We are facing the prospect of living with constant construction for 24 hours, seven days a week for up to a decade.  At some points we will be completely cut off from vital amenities such as shops, transport, doctors and churches and children will have journeys of an hour or more to get to local schools only minutes away. However HS2 ltd. has failed to recognise our community’s unique circumstances in offering any form of compensation.”   

Leader of Ealing Council, Julian Bell, said:”While we welcome the benefits that the HS2 will bring, we can’t ignore the plight of our residents who are set to suffer years of hardship with no sign of adequate compensation. It is utterly ridiculous that Londoners would be overlooked by HS2 ltd. to provide suitable compensation.   

“We want HS2 ltd. to think again before attempting to shirk their responsibility to those who are clearly going to be severely affected by construction. I urge residents to step forward and sign the petition to bring this issue to the government’s attention.”

The petition can be found at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/71100.


4th November 2014