A former HS2 boss privately described a village inn standing in the way of the rail line as a “s****y little pub that nobody wants to drink in anyway”, it has been revealed.
The Commons transport committee was told that former HS2 chief executive Mark Thurston made the comments about the Prince of Wales pub in Steeple Claydon amid a row over the controversial rail project.
Rail minister Huw Merriman was being grilled the Commons transport committee about the attitude within HS2 towards residents in its path.
Greg Smith, MP for Buckingham, said the pub in his constituency had been offered no compensation, despite being affected by the work.
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Mr Smith asked Mr Merriman: “With the departure of Mr Thurston, has there been a change in attitude towards some of those businesses [affected by construction work] given that when I challenged him on, in particular the Prince of Wales pub in [the village] Steeple Claydon
“His response to me, thinking it was not going to be heard by anyone else, was ‘Well, it’s a s****y little pub that nobody wants to drink in anyway.’ That is clearly an unacceptable attitude.”
Mr Merriman replied: “I’m sorry if that was the response you received.”
He added that new HS2 boss Sir Jon Thompson wanted “‘to make sure everyone balances the need to deliver the job with the need to be respectful to those impacted by it.”
Rail minister Huw Merriman
Prince of Wales owner, Frank Mahon, 64, said: “HS2 has done everything possible to try and close me down, but the pub has survived and is supported massively by the locals.”
MPs also heard that landowners on part of the axed northern leg of the line are feeling “suicidal” due to the lack of action by HS2.
Rail consultant Trevor Parkin said bosses were “dragging their feet” – possibly in the hope of a U-turn following a general election.
The Birmingham to Manchester part of the route was axed in October.
The Birmingham to Manchester part of HS2 was axed in October.
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