Residents were left baffled when HS2 Ltd offered them £1,000 to survey their garden – but only if they signed contract clauses which did not exist.
Around 3,000 letters are currently being sent to households along the route, which offer money in return for two site visits (to help officials draw up detailed designs for the HS2 line).
However, Roger Perkins, of Hale Road, Wendover, described his letters as ‘shocking and incompetent’ because the first one requested he signed clauses 14 and 15 which did not exist – and after he pointed out the mistake a second letter asked him to sign clause 14 which did not exist.
The Bucks Herald understands that 400 access agreements with ‘incorrect clause numbering’ were posted on behalf of HS2 Ltd by a firm called Mouchel, which went into administration last month.
An HS2 Ltd spokesman has apologised, blaming ‘a combination of timing and administrative error’.
The HS2 line will pass within 400 yards of Mr Perkins’ house on a raised embankment.
The 75 year old said the letters were ‘shockingly prepared, very unprofessional and typical of their whole scheme’.
He suspects officials will survey his house for noise impact and compare the sound to when HS2 trains pass by in 2026 to determine whether he is eligible for compensation.
Despite his concerns, and describing the £1,000 as a ‘bribe’, he has granted HS2 Ltd access to his property.
Along the line so far roughly 600 access agreements have been signed.
Antony Chapman, treasurer of the Wendover HS2 action group, who lives 800 yards from the line, does not believe that campaigners will gain very much if they refuse to allow access.
He said: “Accepting it would not appear to allow them to do anything to improve their case.”
In October last year campaigners carried out noise-impact research at 16 Wendover locations using a qualified acoustician.
This week researchers told The Bucks Herald it was carried out to ‘provide a baseline’ but they are ‘not authorised’ to reveal its findings at this time.
When asked about the access agreement letters, an HS2 spokesman said: “There are different versions of the access agreement letter for different sizes of landholdings.
“Due to an administrative error by our land referencing contractor, smaller landholders mistakenly received letters referring to extra clauses that were not in their particular version of the letter. We apologise for any confusion this has caused.
“We have discussed the error with our land referencer and systems are now in place to closely check that the relevant access agreement letter goes to the correct landholder.
“The letter includes a step-by-step guide that explains how to respond to the correspondence.
“It also contains contact details of our help desk for any further queries.”
“We have had a positive response to our land access request from hundreds of landowners along the route so far and we are very grateful for their co-operation.”
When asked why Mr Perkins received a second letter, after complaining that his first letter referred to clauses that did not exist, the spokesman said: “This was a combination of timing and administrative error. As the error is the document was being identified a batch of follow-up letters were issued.”