As we approach the next round of petitioning on the High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Bill, I thought it useful to take this opportunity to make clear the deadlines and timescales for submissions on Additional Provision 3 (AP3) and Additional Provision 4 (AP4). It is important that anybody who is directly and specially affected by the changes outlined in either Additional Provision has the opportunity to put their case to the HS2 Select Committee, which has the powers to amend the Bill as required through existing powers or further Additional Provisions.
AP3 relates to the re-design of the proposed high speed rail station at Euston, and outlines the changes required to implement this. If you are a regular, or even occasional, commuter along the West Coast Main Line into Euston, then you may wish to consider the changes proposed and whether or not you would be affected. I have received assurances from the promoter of the scheme, HS2 Ltd, at a meeting on the 10th September that, whilst there will inevitably be some disruption during construction, the timetable that is in operation today will be the same up until Phase One of HS2 opens in 2026. There has been some speculation recently in the press that trains along the HS2 route would terminate at the proposed new Old Oak Common station rather than Euston for the first few years of operation; this has been categorically rejected as fanciful by the Chief Executive of HS2 Ltd, Simon Kirby.
AP4 is related to the line of route across the country, and deals more specifically with seven proposed changes in South Northamptonshire. The majority of these are at the request of the landowners and petitioners, although two are the promoter's improvement of the overall design. Again, should you be directly and specially affected by the proposed changes then please do put these forward to the HS2 Select Committee in full.
The deadline for submitting a petition against AP3 is 2pm on Friday 23rd October, and for responding to the AP3 Environmental Statement it is Friday 6th November. The deadline for petitioning against AP4 is Friday 13th November, and Friday 27th November for responding to the AP4 Environmental Statement.
If you have petitioned before, then I am sure that you are aware of the process – and you will not have to pay the £20 petitioning fee again. If this is your first time petitioning, then please do look first at the FAQs on the High Speed 2 Hybrid Bill, which you can find here: http://www.parliament.uk/business/bills-and-legislation/current-bills/previous-bills/hybrid-bills/hybrid-bill-faqs. Marc Pooler, my former Parliamentary Assistant whom I am sure has helped many of you with the petitioning process in the past, has moved on after years of excellent service, and I have appointed Tommy Gilchrist to be my new lead on HS2 matters in South Northamptonshire. If he can be of any assistance in helping you to submit your petition, then please do not hesitate to contact him directly via email: email@example.com.
Tommy has been meeting with various parties, not least the South Northamptonshire HS2 Liaison Committee who are coordinating from a local perspective. In addition to the briefing given on the 10th September in Parliament by HS2 Ltd, he has met with HS2 Action Alliance on a number of occasions including attending their deposition on noise to the HS2 Select Committee, and continues to meet with others on my behalf, most recently the West London Line Group to discuss stations, interchanges and connections.
I am also aware that some of you have been in touch with Tommy regarding the new Need To Sell scheme, announced by HS2 Ltd to replace the unwieldy Exceptional Hardship Scheme. For those who are unaware, you may be able to sell your property at its unblighted market value (prior to the announcement of HS2) or receive a lump-sum payment if it is near the proposed line of route. You can find out more details about how to claim compensation if your property is affected by HS2 here: https://www.gov.uk/claim-compensation-if-affected-by-hs2.
HS2 Ltd are hosting an information event on High Speed Two in Brackley on Tuesday 3rd November between 1pm and 7pm. This event aims to allow people to find out more about the project and what it means for the local area, with the opportunity to talk to their experts about any issue of concern, as well as to see maps and plans of the project. The meeting will take place at Brackley Town Hall, Market Place, Brackley, NN13 7AB.
Of course, all of this remains contingent upon a number of factors, not least the Bill passing through the legislative process and receiving Royal Assent. I will continue to provide updates as and when appropriate, and please do get in touch with me on this or any other matter.