Lidington blasts HS2 Ltd over Walton Court power plan

David Lidington MP - pictured at his Aylesbury Constituency Office
David Lidington MP - pictured at his Aylesbury Constituency Office

Aylesbury MP David Lidington says he is ‘very disappointed’ in the way government agency HS2 Ltd has told people in Walton Court they may have to leave their homes while work to power the line is carried out.

Around one hundred residents in the south-west fringes of Walton Court were contacted by letter and told access was required to their land because of work on overhead powerlines as a result of HS2’s construction.

Mr Lidington said the letters have caused widespread alarm and confusion.

And in correspondence sent today to HS2 Ltd chief executive Alison Munro, Mr Lidington said: “I am very disappointed in which HS2 Ltd has handled this business.

“For many of the constituents concerned, the first contact of any kind they had from HS2 Ltd was a letter and associated form telling them that their property would be needed on a permanent or temporary basis.

“No detailed information was provided to describe exactly what it was that HS2 Ltd was planning.

“Your approach has left at least some families believing that their homes were about to be seized from them by compulsory purchase.”

He said residents were ‘understandably concerned’ they will be unable to remain in their homes while work is carried out, adding: “If you are expecting to have to rehouse some individuals or families on a temporary basis then I would expect you to provide accommodation that is both of a high standard and suitable to those affected and to cover all reasonable relocation costs.”

The letter sent to residents says there is a 203 week window for the works and Mr Lidington has asked whether all properties are affected for this amount of time.

He also hit out at HS2 Ltd for telling residents that MPs had already been made aware of the work planned.

“This is not true,” he told Ms Munro, adding that he was only given vague details that HS2 Ltd may need unspecified land on the western edge of Aylesbury.”

He finishes the letter: “I hope that HS2 Ltd will learn lessons from this matter.”

HS2 Ltd have today confirmed to Mr Lidington that no land or homes will be permanently taken as a consequence of the National Grid overhead power line works. They believe that no new pylons are required in the immediate vicinity of the Aylesbury properties and said the purpose of the letter was to introduce land referencing works and was never intended to be formal notification of the need to actually take land.