Jun 14 2012 By Keri Brennan
So HS2 want us to trust them with our house values, tunnelling near and under homes, road closures, protection of wildlife, re-siting facilities, businesses, electricity pylons and even ancient woodlands.
Hell they even want us to trust them with the safety of our children and our health. But sadly the fact is we could not trust them to arrange the proverbial booze up in a brewery!
So what have the money grabbing and money spending 'eejits' been up to lately? Well, since the farce that was our March community forum, they:
Have failed to arrange a May forum as promised – it is now arranged for June. If this keeps happening we will lose a third of the forums over a year.
Have sent out minutes that were inaccurate and incomplete.
Have failed to invite Ruislip Against HS2 to the Ruislip and Ickenham community forum, despite them being a stakeholder in HS2 since early last year and the fact that they attended the March one.
Have arranged the Colne Valley (Harefield and surrounding areas) and the Ruislip and Ickenham forums on the same night! Despite a discussion at the last forum about how the issues raised at the Colne Valley forum may interest residents from Ickenham, Ruislip and Northwood - for instance road closures and issues with HOAC. This was agreed by the HS2 staff present, and they have now invited some Ruislip groups to the Colne Valley forum, despite knowing they will be unable to attend both.
Apparently it was impossible for them to find a venue for any other night, ever, anywhere!
Since last year they have promised a consultation on compensation in Spring 2012. Well as I write I would safely say we are well into summer time and there is no sign of a consultation. Yet again, blatant disregard for the thousands of families and business in limbo. Yet again proving we don’t matter.
Maybe I’m cynical but will the fact that the consultation end date is in peak summer holiday season also be highly in their favour?
Possibly worst of all, at a time when thousands of lives are on hold, and all over the country public sector jobs are being cut, HS2 Ltd have continued a huge recruitment drive, with four posts advertised at £97k plus, plus numerous others. Many of which are in social media, brainwashing the public that HS2 is a good idea.
If it was, you wouldn’t need a team to prove it.
How can we trust them? They hold the power to destroy peoples' lives but they treat those people with no consideration or respect. Faith in them is eroded at every turn, yet we are expected to accept that they know best for our families, our homes, our communities.
They need to earn that trust, but do not seem interested at all in building it with the very people who are most affected by the scheme.
If they start to build HS2 these are the people we will all be dependent on to monitor the works, road closures, noise, compensation, dust, contractors etc etc.
Your action groups and some residents' associations are the only people representing residents' interests at these community forums.
Hillingdon Council and MPs are not attending. It is critical we are able to attend as you are not invited – only groups and businesses.
If HS2 Ltd arrange meetings so people can’t attend both where necessary, and give late notice of meetings and miss people off the invitation lists, then there can be no faith in the box ticking exercise that are the community forums.
We know they are just doing them to tick boxes but it is important we do the right thing, and attend and engage. As things stand, Hillingdon residents cannot be reassured that their voices will be heard everywhere they deserve to be, because of HS2 failing to accommodate different dates once every two or three months and using the right invitation lists.
It is not a lot to ask when they are spending £750million of our money before a piece of track is laid.