A CAMPAIGNER has slammed HS2 bosses for their conduct after announcing the latest route to cut swathes through the Staffordshire countryside.
Colwich resident Rolfe Pearce, a key member of the Haywoods Voice campaign group, has written a furious letter to top brass at the HS2 project.
He and his neighbours are ‘more than a little upset’ at the way HS2 Ltd has handled the announcement of the ‘Y route’ affecting Stafford and its surrounding villages.
He has accused rail chiefs of failing to provide adequate means for rural residents to engage with their consultation process and not contacting residents eligible for their ‘exceptional hardship’ scheme.
Mr Pearce said: "A vast majority of ordinary people along the route have not been contacted by anyone apart from local action groups regarding the exceptional hardship scheme or impact potential of HS2. This surely is their responsibility.
"We have a large elderly population in rural Staffordshire who have very poor internet connection or no internet connection at all, meaning that a large part of the community is not able to engage in the consultation process as they cannot research the HS2 site.
"There is a double whammy for those wanting a hard copy of the literature. First you have to get online to get the address, which is stopping many from engaging in the process, only to find that, according to MPs in the area, there aren’t enough copies to send out to respondents.
"We were told by HS2 enquiries that, for those who felt that they would be effected by the route plan, they could send an email with their full address and name and a ‘property search’ would be undertaken.
"We were told HS2 Ltd would then send them an information pack based on their locality to the proposed route which would let them know if they were actually within the 120-metre compensation zone as this is not marked on any of HS2’s maps.
"Initially packs were being sent out quickly, but, shortly afterwards, the pack was just reduced to a copy of the exceptional hardship scheme and it now takes 20 working days for us to get a copy of even that.”