Town gets ready to take its fight to Parliament

Computer-generated visuals of a high speed train
Computer-generated visuals of a high speed train

Kenilworth residents are getting ready to have their say in Parliament about HS2, as Burton Green finishes off three days of petitioning.

The HS2 Select Committee will hear from Kenilworth Town Council, businesses, residents and the golf club next week as they all make a case for major changes to current proposals.

It is expected that major works to divert Canley Brook, compensation for homeowners and changes to stop disruption to businesses during the years of construction work will all be put to the MPs.

Villagers in Burton Green have already appeared before the committee in Westminster, with issues including the Greenway, tunnels and compensation being considered.

John Whitehouse, who attended the committee on behalf of the Greenway Trust on Tuesday, said now is the time for everyone who will be hit by the high speed line as it passes from London to Birmingham to make real changes.

Describing the committee as “very sympathetic” to the plight of many residents, he said: “That is very reassuring.

“There has been a lot of time dedicated to homeowners who feel stranded and are hoping for better compensation and mitigation offerings.

“It was a very positive experience for most people,” he said. “The main thing to come out of this is that a cut and cover tunnel just will not cut it for most people in Burton Green.

“And while we certainly do not wish to get any hopes up, there did seem to be a very good and agreeable feeling from MPs.”

The committee can order HS2 Ltd to make changes to the route or its mitigation measures already proposed as the hybrid bill makes its way through Parliament.

As well as an underground deep bore tunnel, villagers called for more compensation measures to reach those unable to sell their homes.

And after MPs described the village as a special case, being the only community along the route through which the railway tracks will completely divide, hopes are high for change.

Preparations are now being made by Kenilworth residents hoping for similar ‘success’ before the Parliamentary committee on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

It is not known when the outcome of the committee’s reports will be made public, and this may not be until after the general election in May.

A new property compensation measure will be announced later this month.

The date when transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin will announce the scheme is not know, but it is expected to be in the coming weeks.

A HS2 spokesman said it could be “very good news” for people worried about house prices near the line.

In a letter Mr McLoughlin said: “Given the busy nature of the Christmas period, with many people away from home we want to ensure that residents and communities who may be affected by HS2 do not receive information in a piecemeal way and that everyone is informed at the same time in a clear way.

“On reflection that can best be achieved in January.

“Any delay to applicants will in practice be very small and we consider that the January launch will be more successful in ensuring people are clear as to their entitlements and options.”