Erewash Conservatives have denied a split over the issue of compensation for Long Eaton residents affected by HS2, after a leaked email revealed concern for ‘political fallout’.
The results of the consultation would be taken forward by the council into upcoming negotiations with HS2 and the Government.
The council’s deputy chief executive Ian Sankey said: “The consultation we will be undertaking is specifically targeted at people whose houses are opposite the proposed railway on Bonsall Street and New Tythe Street, but whose properties are not currently featured in any compensation package offered.
“We have concerns for these residents and would like to talk to HS2 Ltd about appropriate compensation for them. We would like the residents to tell us what kind of package would be best for them.”
He added: “While we cannot guarantee that we can secure an improved position for these residents, we will continue to seek the best possible package of mitigation for the borough.”
However, after a draft consultation document was circulated among community leaders, it appears MP Maggie Throup called for a rethink to limit any potential for the project to be used to attack the Tories in future.
In an email to the cross-party group on Wednesday, August 29, council leader Carol Hart wrote: “I have had one of Maggie Throup’s team on the phone and apparently Maggie is not happy.
“He has raised several concerns on her behalf one of which is that he thinks there will be a lot of political fallout from Labour.”
She went on to ask for a delay in the consultation being launched, pending further input from the MP’s office.
Labour group leader Councillor James Dawson said: “The Conservative leader of the council is seriously letting the people of Long Eaton down. Instead of making decisions openly and transparently in the best interests of the people of Erewash, decisions are being made behind closed doors.
“We cannot be any part of a cross party working group that is being used to mask a party political agenda.”
Labour parliamentary candidate Catherine Atkinson added: “This email shows that Erewash Conservatives are completely divided on one of the most important issues facing residents in Long Eaton. The Conservative MP for Erewash is trying to block residents being consulted on compensation for HS2.
“The Conservatives’ division on this issue has meant that from the start they have failed to oppose the route or fight for those directly affected. The Conservatives have shown that they have no authority on the issue of HS2.”
However, both Carol Hart and Maggie Throup have denied there is anything untoward about the situation.
Carol said: “Whilst I deeply regret that this email was distributed to a wider audience than was intended, I wholehearted refute the claims made by Erewash Labour.
“Maggie in no way tried to block the proposed public consultation, but simply replied to the cross-party working group’s request for comments about the content of the consultation document and we were extremely pleased to receive her wholly positive feedback.”
She added: “Both the Conservative-led council and Maggie are united in our shared aim of securing the best possible compensation package for those affected by HS2.”
Maggie said: “As I understand it, I was one of a number of interested parties who were asked for comments by the working group.
“I have quite rightly never sort to interfere with either the running of the borough council or the decisions that elected councillors make on behalf of local residents.”