Published: 3 October, 2013
by TOM FOOT
BUNGLING HS2 Ltd sent out letters to hundreds of residents wrongly informing them they could have to leave or sell their homes during a “new element” of the £43billlion railway project.
The official correspondence arrived on the doormats of at least 500 homes – not previously thought to be affected by the massive demolition plans – in Park Village East, Regent’s Park, Juniper Crescent, Chalk Farm, and the Alexandra and Ainsworth estate, South Hampstead.
The letter, sent by a land consultancy company called TerraQuest, on behalf of HS2, said: “Following further fieldwork... HS2 Ltd has identified land that we may need to acquire from you on a temporary of permanent basis.”
A spokesman later told the New Journal, the letters, which talk about compensation and recommend legal advice, were poorly worded.
A clarifying email was later sent to one resident saying: “The properties that HS2 plans to acquire have not changed.”
Barbara Blackwell, who lives in Richmond House in Park Village East, said: “You wouldn’t let them run a bath would you? The NHS is on its knees and they are spending billions on this.”
Another tenant, from a Peabody housing block in Regent’s Park, said she had complained to HS2 about the “highly irresponsible communications”.
At the Grade II-listed Alexandra and Ainsworth Estate, also known as Rowley Way, residents association chairman Tom Muirhead said he was shocked to learn that hundreds of homes had come under “direct attack” from HS2.
In Juniper Crescent, Chalk Farm, a tenant who did not want to be named said she was relieved to learn from the New Journal that she would not have to leave her home after all.
A HS2 Ltd spokesman said: “HS2 Ltd has a policy of contacting people as soon as we can about works relating to the project. Just to be clear, residents will not have to leave their homes for this work. Neither will HS2 Ltd need access to their properties during the works.”