Many residents along the route have received Land Interest Letters from Terraquest on behalf of HS2
Here is an example of the Land Interest letter
In our view HS2 are bothering residents with a letter that is designed to do their job for them, it is written in formal language that means people are worried and concerned by it.
For many it arrived on a Saturday when there was no one in the Terraquest office to take queries.
We emailed some queries to Terraquest and HS2 and a week later have had NO RESPONSE.
It suggests if you don’t reply within 21 days your interest in the property may not be properly recorded. But it is up to them to do the work and get it right.
The legal advice we have gratefully received suggests we don’t need to complete the paperwork.
Many residents have already completed it – that is fine but if you haven’t or you don’t want to, then you don’t have to.
It is a personal choice.
If you need any support or have specific queries / questions please get in contact with us.
Some more detailed legal advice for those who have received it:
“1. It is important to determine the purpose of the letter, many residents feel that they are being summonsed by HS2 and are compelled to respond. This is not my view as I shall explain further below. Neither is the letter/questionnaire part of a legal process to compulsorily acquire residents’ properties.
2. HS2 have made it clear in the documents that that the information will be used in order to comply with the Standing Orders of Parliament relating to the promotion of Private Bills. Standing Order 54 requires that a Book of Reference is compiled which contains the names of all the owners, lessees and occupiers of land which may be acquired or used for the purposes of the construction and maintenance of the HS2 scheme. HS2 is required to make reasonable enquiries to ascertain this information and this is the reason why it has sent out the questionnaires.
3. If the questionnaires are completed, they will contain personal data and therefore HS2 will be bound by the provisions of the Data Protection Act. Therefore, HS2 will only be able to use the personal data in order to comply with Standing Order 54 ; it may also be used to keep residents informed about the progress of the HS2 proposals but residents have the option of not allowing their personal data to be used for this purpose.
4. There is no legal obligation on the part of the residents to complete and return the questionnaires to HS2. They will not be committing a criminal offence and neither will they be breaking the law in any other respect if they decide to ignore the questionnaires. One of my lawyers phoned HS2 in relation to this specific issue and the position, as I have set out in this paragraph, was confirmed to him.
5. I would also wish to stress that if the residents decide not to complete and return the questionnaires to HS2, it does not automatically follow that their properties will be compulsorily purchased.
6. Residents do of course have the option to cooperate with HS2 should they wish to do so; it is a matter for them to decide but if they do respond, I do not see that they will be prejudicing their future position in any way as they will be providing the information which is requested of them simply for the purpose of Standing Order 54.”