HS2 caused homeowner ‘severe stress’ over compensation claim – report

Support us and go ad-free

The company behind HS2 was “dishonest and misleading” in dealing with a compensation claim from a homeowner whose property needed to be compulsorily purchased, a report said.

The impact of HS2

HS2 “failed to properly engage and communicate” with a complainant whose family home, business, and smallholding was on the planned route between London and Birmingham. The report, from the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, said HS2 had misled the complainant, causing them “severe stress and worry which impacted on their health and family life for over four years”.

In a statement published by the BBC, the firm said there had been “significant changes to HS2 Ltd, our responsiveness, and the complaints handling approach” over the last four years since the case was raised. HS2 had previously been criticised for its poor engagement with the same community near Lichfield and “should have been repairing an already fractured relationship following our 2015 report”, ombudsman Rob Behrens said.

Then, HS2 was told to pay thousands of pounds for a “catalogue of errors” in dealing with residents’ pleas to be helped to stay together when their homes were demolished to make way for the rail line.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free
RAIL HS2
The HS2 route (PA Graphics)

Reporting back

The latest report, published on 27 May, said HS2 should apologise to the complainants – referred to as Mr and Mrs D – for the “delay, frustration, inconvenience and distress their serious maladministration” caused the couple.

It added:

While HS2 were not responsible for Mr and Mrs D having to sell their family home to make way for the proposed railway, we can see HS2’s actions exacerbated the impact on Mr and Mrs D’s stress levels and health.

In summary, HS2’s handling of Mr and Mrs D’s case caused delay in progressing elements of their case, unnecessary levels of stress and anxiety as well as giving Mr and Mrs D cause to doubt HS2’s honesty and sincerity when responding to their concerns.

In our view, these are serious injustices that will have a lasting impact on Mr and Mrs D.

The new line will connect London and Crewe with the first phase, to the West Midlands, set to open between 2029 and 2033.

RAIL HS2
A timeline of the new HS2 line (PA Graphics)

“Dishonest”

The HS2 statement published by the BBC said:

We understand that residents did not choose to live along the line of the route and that for many the process of having their homes acquired will be distressing.

HS2 Ltd endeavour to treat every land and property case with respect and compassion, while also recognising our obligations to spend taxpayers money appropriately when agreeing compensation.

The report added:

HS2 was dishonest, misleading and inconsistent, and failed to follow its own processes when negotiating compensation claims with the complainant for their family home. This meant there was a breakdown of trust and it undermined the complainant’s faith that they would be treated fairly.

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us