The Residents’ Charter – our promise to you
Lisa Levy is HS2 Ltd’s Head of Engagement
Last week the government announced plans for a package of compensation for people living close to the first stage of HS2, from London to Birmingham.
This included a wide range of help for people in different circumstances, including payments for home owners opting to continue living next to the line and guarantees to buy the homes of those unable to sell as a result of the new line.
We did this because we recognise that, while HS2 will bring huge economic benefits for communities across the country, for those living closest to the line, some level of disruption will be inevitable.
That’s why it’s essential to have a fair and transparent compensation system which residents can have confidence in.
The next step will be the development of a Residents’ Charter, which will contain a number of principles against which we will be measured in our communications with people affected by the development of the railway.
We also intend to appoint an independent Residents’ Commissioner, who will ensure that we stick to the commitments made in the Charter.
They will ensure that residents are informed of any developments fairly and efficiently.
When appointed, the commissioner will report directly to HS2 Ltd’s chairman, Sir David Higgins, and will be asked to produce a monthly progress report for the HS2 Board.
The report will address how HS2 Ltd deals with communities and individuals who are affected by property issues and will be published on our website for all to see.
We plan to go above and beyond what was offered on previous major infrastructure projects. During the construction of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link and London’s new Crossrail line, commissioners were appointed to help resolve construction related complaints.
Our Residents’ Commissioner will go further, offering impartial mediation on all aspects of the property compensation scheme.
We understand that openness and transparency must be at the heart of everything we do. The Residents’ Charter will set out clearly what you can expect HS2 Ltd to do, as well as how we should act in dealing with anyone who is in a property that is potentially or definitely affected by the development of the railway.
The Charter will embrace the following key principles:
- property compensation packages and other measures will be communicated clearly, in plain, non-technical language
- residents will be offered a single named case officer
- residents will be offered the opportunity to meet in private with HS2 property specialists
- HS2 Ltd will commit to a reasonable response time for all property compensation-related enquiries
Together, the Charter and Commissioner will provide residents with a voice, impartial representation and – we hope - a very clear commitment to fast, fair and transparent compensation.
So there it is – our promise to you.
For further information please see New help for property owners affected by HS2.