The Department for Transport (DfT) has extended the Independent Construction Commissioner’s role to cover oversight of HS2's Phase 2a.
The aim is to give homeowners and businesses affected by the construction of HS2 between the West Midlands and Crewe 'access to clear, impartial advice, enabling strong scrutiny of the project'.
Sir Mark Worthington OBE will now have responsibility for managing issues and relationships between HS2 Ltd and individuals or bodies relating to construction work on both Phase One, from London to Birmingham, and Phase 2a, West Midlands to Crewe.
In his extended role, the Independent Construction Commissioner will work with communities, businesses and individuals along the route to resolve complaints relating to construction issues, as well as providing advice on how to raise concerns with HS2 Ltd.
MPs on the transport select committee recently complained to HS2 Ltd chief executive, Mark Thurston, about the ‘appalling’ and ‘horrendous’ treatment some communities had received from HS2 Ltd.
Mr Thurston conceded that there was 'a mixed picture', adding that 'on some days that it is not as good as it should be'.
The Department for Transport holds records of 1604 pieces of written correspondence received by the High Speed Rail and Major Projects Group from members of public since July 2019.
HS2 minister Andrew Stephenson said: 'The Independent Construction Commissioner adds important oversight to this project by ensuring there is a constructive and positive relationship between HS2 Ltd, its contractors and local communities. It also ensures all building-related decisions adhere to best practice, as set out by the department.
'I have no doubt Sir Mark will continue his impressive work as Commissioner, helping to develop constructive engagement between all parties and ensure HS2 is a good neighbour to all as it constructs this vital railway.
Sir Mark Worthington said: 'I am grateful to the HS2 Minister and Secretary of State for extending my remit to cover Phase 2a of the HS2 project. It makes considerable sense at this time and I look forward to the renewed challenges.'