HS2 Ltd bought up homes ahead of consultation
Campaigners opposed to the controversial high speed rail link say they have been misled by HS2 management.
The Department of Transport (DfT) has confirmed that it has purchased 17 properties along the proposed £56billion route, including some in Wakefield.
And the admission came just days after claims were made that HS2 officials had told a community meeting in Normanton that they had not bought any property or land in the area.
Altofts anti-HS2 campaigner Paul Dainton said he was at the meeting held at Normanton Town Council, which took place on February 13.
He said: “I asked the two representatives ‘Can you tell us if it is true that you have already purchased land?’.
“They said categorically that they had not.”
Mr Dainton claims that as the houses in the area have already been purchased it would effectively pave the way for the scheme to go ahead despite a lengthy and costly consultation process.
Mr Dainton added: “They’ve spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on a consultation but nobody thinks it is value for money.
“We do not want HS2.”
Documents held with land registry confirm the Secretary of State for Transport as the registered owner of Newland Lodge, off Newland Lane, as well as a property on Birkwood Road in Normanton.
A HS2 spokesperson confirmed to the Express that these were just two of the properties within its portfolio in the region.
The spokesperson for HS2 said: “We will be contacting Normanton Town Council to clarify the position - which is that, to date, we have purchased 17 properties in Wakefield, Leeds and North Yorkshire.
“We apologise for any confusion caused.”
Jonathan Pile, Chair of Crofton Against HS2, said: “It is disgraceful what’s happening.
“Once again, HS2 Limited and the DfT are caught in the midst of a lie.
“They have repeatedly lied to community groups and local residents about the number of purchased properties in Normanton and Wakefield District.
“Then they lied to Normanton Town Council.”
MP for Hemsworth Jon Trickett, who has vocally opposed the HS2 route, said he was ‘appalled’ at the latest turn of events.
He said: “I’m appalled that HS2 Ltd. has announced that it has previously purchased properties in Wakefield, Leeds and North Yorkshire despite telling residents and councillors just a few days ago that this was not the case.
“It follows a pattern of secretive behaviour in which HS2 Ltd. appear to have been pressuring local councils to sign confidentiality clauses.
“What have they got to hide from residents whose lives are already being affected?
“It may be that there are serious questions to answer as to whether HS2 Ltd. has behaved within their legal remit since they appear to have spent money on pre-emptive property acquisition before the consultation process has been completed.”