Today i received a (late) response from Paul Maynard, the Minister responsible for overseeing the HS2 project. As with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport the invitation to South Kirkby to meet with local residents and the local press has been declined. No surprise there. To give credit to Paul Maynard and Karen Bradley, at least they had the courtesy to respond to my invitation, unlike the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling.
The response from Paul Maynard is an interesting one, it confirms what we already knew, essentially that the route announced previously (and the route which was used for the consultation phase) is not fixed, therefore all consultation undertaken was pretty pointless as the route could be altered at the drop of a hat. The response also confirms that the Government will use a hybrid Bill to overrule the current laws and protections offered to listed buildings, scheduled monuments and so on, which seems pretty much contrary to the line “…the Department for Transport will continue to work closely with DCMS (the Department for Culture, Media and Sport) and Historic England to avoid and mitigate impacts on historic sites across the route.” The response to myself previously from the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport already made it VERY clear that she will back the Government on any decision to use a hybrid Bill to overrule Historic England and current laws, so just how will the Department for Transport work with that particular department to protect heritage assets? Something is not right there…
However, this response from Paul Maynard does offer the opportunity to test Paul Maynard and the Department for Transport in their offer to “work closely with… …Historic England to avoid and mitigate impacts on historic sites across the route.” Historic England have not only formally scheduled South Kirkby Camp but it is also on their ‘at risk’ register, therefore they have made it crystal clear that the site is important and needs protection. Therefore, with that in mind, wouldn’t it be easier for Paul Maynard and the Department for Transport to simply make a promise to the people of South Kirkby that the finalised route will not AT ALL impact on the site and the monument? That no land grab, cutting, storage of equipment or any other invasion of the site will take place? After all, if the route through South Kirkby is not finalised this should be a very easy promise to make.
With that in mind today i responded to Paul Maynard with this demand.