Hardship scheme launched for HS2 homeowners

Sam Cordon

July 18, 2013

The phase two route will take the high speed line from the West Midlands to Manchester and Leeds with connections to the West and East coast main lines to serve the rest of the North of England and Scotland.

MP Patrick McLoughlin said: “The scheme is designed to assist owner-occupiers of residential, agricultural, and small business property before the route itself is firmed up.

“It is a temporary scheme to help people whose properties are affected by the plans for the line and are experiencing, or are at risk of experiencing, exceptional hardship because they cannot sell them.”

The scheme will allow successful applicants to have their properties purchased at 100% of their un-blighted open market value which is the value of the property were there no proposals for phase two of HS2.

And as plans for the phase two line are firmed up the government will consider options for further long-term discretionary compensation.

Richard Sexton, director of business development at the surveying firm esurv, said: “This is good news and should go some way to calming the fears of those who anticipate being blighted.

“But the announcement appears silent on what the government will do with these properties it will subsequently own. It seems the taxpayer will be exposed to the risk of property price volatility but I would be surprised if there was significant take up of this at this stage.”

He added that ultimately HS2 is likely to have a positive impact on house prices.

He said: “Any downside on values has now been priced into local values, these are likely to recover when the true impact in each area is known; for example once in a tunnel such sections would have little impact.

“HS2 will also likely impact positively on prices around terminals and stations due to improved communication links.”

The government plans to launch a fresh consultation on compensation options for phase one in addition to statutory compensation measures.

McLoughlin said: “I am determined to find the solutions that benefit the greatest number of people, best support our cities and have the least impact on our environment.

“Our consultations with the public are a vital part of achieving these goals. We want people to join the debate on phase two of HS2 and help us to shape a network we can all be proud of.”

The phase two consultation will run for six months and will be accompanied by a series of public information events from mid October 2013 to early January 2014 where people will be able to review local information and speak directly with HS2 Ltd staff about the proposals.

McLoughlin said: “The views we get during this consultation will play an important part in informing my decision on a final route, station and depot options by the end of 2014.”

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