This village meeting, organised by the Packington HS2 Response Team in the Memorial Hall, was attended by approximately 60 residents.
The aim of the meeting was to give villagers a better understanding of what the Team have being doing on their behalf in respect of HS2, since the public meetings in January and February, and to explain the implications of the confirmed route. The meeting was given a brief background to HS2 in this area, a summary of the formal consultation response, and information on further lobbying of HS2, Government and local councils since the formal submission.
Residents were thanked for responding individually, as this had contributed significantly to overturning the November 2016 route proposal, which would have been by far the worst option for Packington. Of seven proposed route changes to HS2 Phase 2 being consulted on, our section was the only one where the November 2016 proposal was thrown out. Sadly, our attempts to promote an example route that missed Packington completely, and eliminated impact on 90% more homes, as well as schools and businesses, was not given serious consideration.
The implications for Packington of the confirmed route were explained. Our community will still suffer noise and dust pollution during construction, there will be serious visual impacts, transport links will be disrupted over a lengthy period, and the train will be heard and seen once work is completed, causing permanent blight on the village.
It was explained that under HS2’s current proposal, only a very small number of properties within Packington will be eligible for Homeowner Payments (compensation), being those properties that fall within 300 metres of the line. Separately, house owners can apply to the ‘need to sell” scheme – it was noted that there are precise eligibility requirements.
Packington is eligible to bid for a share of a government community fund, set aside by HS2 Ltd, and the District Council are prepared to assist with this.
The Packington HS2 Team plan to continue to raise the benefits of alternative routes, to seek mitigation against noise and visibility as the design is developed and against the worst effects of construction, and to try to maximise compensation, especially through the Community Fund.
A petition to Parliament demanding a debate to stop HS2 can be accessed HERE
The meeting unanimously agreed the following mandate, to enable the Team to continue to speak on behalf of Packington: –
“The Team is mandated to continue working to minimise the impact of HS2 on our community, through dialogue with HS2 Ltd, the Government and others.”
Anyone with any specific knowledge or expertise who is willing to contribute to these aims would be most welcome.
The meeting ended with a brief report by Councillor Nigel Smith (NWLDC), about a meeting he had attended with HS2, this was followed by a question and answer session between villagers and the Team.
Appreciation was expressed from the floor for the work that the Team has done for the village.
Richard Jones, Chair,
Packington HS2 Response Team