Is Wells House Road The Most Blighted in England?

Rupa Huq, Ealing Central and Acton MP shares concerns



NE against HS2


Sign up for our free newsletter

Comment on this story on the

An idyllic Saturday afternoon as a group of neighbours take tea together in a suburban back garden of a pretty Edwardian home.

There’s a good spread of cakes and biscuits on as well as fruit grown in the same garden being enjoyed by residents old and new spanning different ages and backgrounds.

It’s a perfect scene exemplifying community spirit as well as the maxim that an Englishman’s home is his castle… or at the very least that anyone’s garden should be a haven from the pressures of life.

Yet this picture of tranquillity is about to be shattered as the rail link HS2 comes to west London. It’s either portrayed as a futuristic necessity vital to our national infrastructure or a white elephant with a price tag of £50billion and rising that we can ill afford at a time of austerity.

For the Ealing borough residents of Wells House Road NW10 the project has significant downsides – so much so that residents found their road and the neighbouring Midland Terrace mentioned not once but four times in a recent House of Commons debate on HS2.

I asked railways minister Robert Goodwill “what compensation is available to residents in Wells House Road and Midland Terrace in NW10, because… their suburban way of life will be demolished?

Their gardens are being compulsorily purchased and then they will also have to deal with noise and disruption for 10 years?

Indeed it is probably no exaggeration to say that the road is the moist blighted in England: latest plans reveal that a train flyover is coming the way of these residents which will be at first floor height of their turn of the century modest brick-built terraced houses.

I believe residents of Wells House Road and Midland Terrace should be entitled to parity with people further up the line in rural areas. It should not be a case of special treatment for people in the Tory shires.

Andy Slaughter MP for Hammersmith also raised the subject claiming “ I visited the area with other members of the Select Committee. [Residents] will be surrounded on three sides by the development for 15 to 20 years, which is horrific, while on the fourth side the main road, Old Oak Common Lane, will be closed for a year or two. That does not bear thinking about, and I am afraid that it either has not been thought about, or has been thought about and then dismissed and put in the “too difficult” box.”

Resident Amanda Souter who hosted the weekend tea-party said: “The stress of living under the threat of losing our homes, gardens, community and tranquillity is unimaginable. After 5 years of battling with HS2 Ltd to recognise Wells House Road as a special-case sensitive receptor and provide mitigation measures and compensation that reflects the astonishing level of impact, we are no further forward.”

I also submitted a written question: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, (pursuant to the Answer of 23 June 2015, Official Report, column 834), whether apart from the need to sell scheme mentioned that residents affected by the High Speed 2 development in Wells House Road and Midland Terrace NW10 will be entitled to support comparable with that being offered through the Rural Zones.

The answer that came back was baffling: “Rural areas will feel the effects of HS2 more than urban areas, where major construction projects are commonplace and properties relatively close to railways or building sites are often shielded from their effects by other buildings and background noise. This is why some of the assistance schemes are directed at rural areas only… The Need to Sell scheme is available to qualifying residents in Wells House Road and Midland Terrace.”

However, most residents wish to stay in their homes: many have been there for generations and, due to the blight, current property values would mean residents would exchange their 3-bedroom homes with a garden for a 1-2 bed flat elsewhere in the area.

Ealing was once known as queen of the suburbs, but the people of the borough’s eastern fringe are getting a distinctly un-regal treatment and frankly raw deal on this occasion.

Residents have vowed to keep up the fight and have until August 14th to submit a petition to Parliament for the next stage in the battle.


Rupa Huq
Labour MP Ealing Central and Acton

4th August 2015