Express & Star

Elderly Staffordshire couple left 'prisoners in their own home' by HS2

HS2 has left an elderly Staffordshire couple "prisoners in their own home" surrounded by fencing and security guards, an MP has said.

HS2 is set to carve through 45 miles of Staffordshire countryside

Sir Bill Cash said residents in parts of the county were suffering from "extreme stress, bullying and harassment" due to ongoing HS2 works.

And the Stone MP said a 79-year-old man had been left in an "utterly intolerable" position after the farm he had worked on his entire life had been "taken away from him" by HS2.

Ministers have announced a two-year delay to the second phase of HS2 towards Crewe, but work on phase one of the line through Staffordshire is expected to continue.

Sir Bill was speaking during a Commons debate on the budget-busting, long-delayed line, which is expected to cost more than £100bn.

He told MPs: "On a personal note, many of my constituents are aware that work is continuing now, despite the announced delay.

"They are suffering from extreme stress, bullying and harassment. Staff have taken possession of their homes against their will, without adequate or timely compensation, and of land that they do not need.

"One example is Mr John Evanson, aged 79. He was born on his farm, where he worked his entire life, but it has been taken away from him.

"He and his partner are now prisoners in their own home, surrounded by fencing and with as many as eight security guards, which is utterly intolerable. Will the Minister guarantee to look into that issue and sort it out?"

Rail Minister Huw Merriman said: "It is essential that HS2 treats those whose land is being possessed or worked on nearby with compassion, and offers the right element of compensation.

"A lot of good work has been done by my predecessors on that front, but we know that there is more to do."

A spokesman for HS2 Ltd said: "Mr Evanson’s farm was compulsorily acquired in January 2023 and he has received compensation.

"He has been aware for several years that his property will be acquired for the scheme. We understand that he has lived at the property his whole life and recognise that this maybe a stressful time.

"We are in regular contact with him and his representatives to arrange for him to vacate in a reasonable and orderly manner."