Community Fund concerns prompts letter to Prime Minister

A letter urging the Government to ensure an adequate Community Fund to compensate local people and businesses for the unavoidable impacts they will experience from HS2 has been sent to Prime Minister David Cameron.

Solihull Council said they recognise HS2 has the potential to bring enormous benefit to the borough – however, it recently commissioned WSP Group to produce a report, entitled HS2 Statement of Opportunity, to assess the amenity, landscape, ecology and heritage impacts of the railway, both during its construction and operation.

From this report WSP estimated from these known impacts a minimum of £2.5m compensation fund would be required to deal with the consequences.

Ian Courts, Deputy Leader of Solihull Council, Cabinet Member for Land & Economic Growth & Chairman of HS2 Working Party, said:

“I am concerned that the limited compensation scheme already outlined will not recognise the real impact of HS2. The issue of severance, with communities being split by the route is not currently considered a legitimate reason for compensation or mitigation. Similarly businesses are excluded from being compensated for any adverse impact HS2 will have on them during construction.

“HS2 has indicated the possibility of community fund to deal with some of these issues outside the formal compensation process. I will be pressing HS2 to ensure any such fund is sufficiently resourced and that in line with the current planning regime a local fund is established to work with our communities and businesses.

“I hope that the letter to the Prime Minister will persuade him to support my call for a sufficiently resourced, locally administered fund that will properly compensate the people, communities and businesses adversely affected by HS2.”

Read more: