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Railway

Published: 18 January 2018
Area of Law: Planning

HS2 Phase 2a – as a land owner, how can you make an objection?

HS2 Phase 2a – Petitioning Period
High Speed Rail (West Midlands to Crewe) Bill

The Hybrid Bill to authorise Phase 2a of HS2 is currently making it’s way through the House of Commons, with the first reading being held back in July 2017.  The date of the second reading has just been announced as 30th January 2018.  

Following a successful second reading, the petitioning period will open and will give any party affected by Phase 2a the opportunity to make an objection. Once the petitioning period is open, the closing date will be announced, which is likely to be around 25 days later.

The Phase 2a route runs from Fradley Wood in Staffordshire to Crewe in Cheshire.

What does this mean?

If you have land affected by Phase 2a, we strongly advise that you protect your interest and make an objection to the Hybrid Bill. Any parties who petition will be given the opportunity for their objections to be heard before the select committee.  

How can I object?

Objections must be made in the way prescribed by the House of Commons on the template petitioning forms. These are available on the House of Commons website, along with guidance for Petitioners. 

The petitioning process has been modernised recently to make it more accessible for those wishing to make an objection.  However HS2 are still represented by Parliamentary Agents and Counsel. Appearances before the select committee are short, so maximising the presentation of your evidence is key to ensuring your concerns are heard, particularly where the financial impacts are significant.  

What should I include?

The select committee’s remit will not include broader issues around HS2, such as whether the railway should be constructed.  Rather, the focus of your petition needs to be on the specific ways in which the Bill directly affects you and how you believe it should be amended to reduce the impacts on your land.  HS2 may object to petitions being heard if they feel parties are not directly and specifically affected.  

The process may result in amendments to the bill to reduce the impact on your land but it will not defeat or stop the Bill. Realistically, the process may result in limiting the extent, nature and duration of compulsory acquisition powers or temporary possession powers.  Other key issues are ensuring you retain appropriate access to retained land/businesses during and after the construction of HS2, along with mitigating environmental or other impacts.  

What happens next?

To avoid select committee hearings, HS2 are likely to seek to negotiate a settlement with those that make an objection. Those who object have better leverage to    protect their interests and will be given priority over parties that don’t.

Even if HS2 are already negotiating with you, or your surveyor, a petition will ensure that negotiations are concluded by way of issue of binding assurances/agreements.

How can we help?

If you would like to be guided through the process of petitioning against Phase 2a please do not hesitate to contact Abigail Walters on 0116 281 6968, or email abigail.walters@shma.co.uk,who has previous petitioning experience.  

Abigail can also assist with preparation for select committee hearings, securing concessions on use of Bill powers, negotiating assurances/agreements and provide adv

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Jon Saltinstall, Senior HealthCare Banking Consultant, Lloyds Bank