Steeple Claydon resident Clive Higgins, of Rosehill Farm, has become embroiled in another stand-off with HS2 over acquisition and access to a section of his land.
In July 2018 Higgins was persuaded by HS2 to permit and running some electricity lines underneath one of his fields. HS2 insisted that “the Agreement & Payment would have to be made within 14 days”
HS2 contractor Western Power Distribution dug the trenches and installed the cables.
They then abandoned the sight without even an attempt to restore the damage done.
Now 9 months later not a single penny of the promised payment has been made, HS2’s excuse is that “they do not have a procedure to pay”
The high-speed rail line builders are planning on re-routing a road through a section of Mr Higgins’ field,
Problems began when the plans failed to include safe access to Mr Higgins’ farm, prompting him to petition both of Parliament’s select committee with an alternate route – a venture he believed to have been a successful one.
Mr Higgins said: “I came away from the first select committee thinking OK, that’s sorted out.
“Then of course the select committee was disbanded and HS2 came back and said well we looked at it but we won’t change it.”
This paper spoke to HS2 and they said that while they have agreed a price for the damage to Mr Higgins’ land, they still haven't been paid.
However since our last report, Clive Higgins claims HS2 have now moved the land they want to buy off of him without the proper authority to do so.
Clive claims he has been treated 'appallingly' by HS2.
The new request from HS2 for Clive's land includes 20% of Ancient Woodland, which is at least 400 years old, and Clive also contests that the 'section 16 documents' differ from their original agreed (not agreed) proposal of their land.
Clive said: "I will certainly be contesting the whole section 16 order, as the plans they have submitted to me are based on the original position of the Infrastructure Maintenance Depot (IMD) and the re-alignment of the Addison Road Bridge, rejected by both Parliamentary Select Committees and the subject of a written undertaking made to Buckinghamshire County Council
According to the HS2 website : "A Schedule 16 of the High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Act 2017 enables HS2 to take possession of land for the purpose of constructing the railway.
"Any individual who has an interest in the land is entitled to make a claim for any loss which they may suffer by reason of HS2 exercising the right to occupy the land. Payment for land temporarily occupied is payable on completion of agreement or for long periods of occupation it can be paid periodically in agreement with the landowner.
Clive continued: "There are currently no approved plans for the IMD or the changes to the bridge on Addison Road so how do they know what land they need. They want to destroy hundreds, possibly thousands of mature trees, just in case they need the area?"
HS2, who said they can't discuss specifics of the case, said:
"“In order to continue to progress the work on HS2 we sometimes need to take temporary possession of sites.
"We fully understand how difficult it is for people impacted by the railway, and are committed to supporting landowners to ensure they receive the right level of compensation. We are actively working to reach an agreement as swiftly as possible.”