Department for Transport’s ‘generous’ compensation scheme for HS2 traps thousands in unsaleable homes

The Department for Transport has today announced a consultation on a compensation scheme for home owners and businesses impacted by the planned HS2 London to Birmingham train line.

Commenting on the package, Hilary Wharf, Director, HS2 Action Alliance said;

“What’s on offer is derisory. It’s cynical and dishonest and gives the lie to repeated Government promises that this would be the most generous compensation scheme ever. They themselves say it’s comparable to HS1’s arrangements – regarded as unacceptable 20 years ago.”

“For those affected by blight (beyond 120m from the line) it effectively just continues the existing hardship scheme, under which just 60 households have qualified in the last two years.”

“If the Government can’t afford fair compensation – it can’t afford HS2.”

“This is neither a generous nor the right package for those impacted by the plans for HS2. Under these proposals many thousands of ordinary people will be left with houses they cannot sell or worth considerably less than they were before the plans for this eye watering expensive white elephant were announced. It offers no prospect of relief for the vast majority of those whose lives are ruined by HS2.”

“The consultation on compensation has been delayed three times since it was first scheduled for February 2011, with the lives of 1000s of ordinary people – from Camden to Staffordshire – damaged by this fatally flawed plan. As the last consultation was a shambles, losing 100’s of responses, and triggering five judicial reviews, we have no expectation that this will be any better.”

“As with every step of this fatally flawed project those impacted have been insulted and treated with contempt by an incompetent DfT and uncaring Government who seem hell bent on pushing though HS2 no matter what the personal, financial or environmental cost” she added.”

ends

Notes to Editors:

Property and Compensation consultation: The Secretary of State announced in January 2012 that this next consultation would make detailed proposals for various schemes for those affected by Phase 1 of HS2. The consultation begun today (25 Oct 2012) and ending on 31st Jan 2013 now covers:

1. A guaranteed purchase scheme for properties needed to construct HS2 i.e. compulsory purchase. This applies to those within 60m of the line (the safeguarded zone) 2. A voluntary purchase scheme for those within 120m of the line outside the M25 3. Sale and rent back for those in the safeguarded zone i.e. land required to build HS2 4. A package of measures for those being tunnelled under e.g. before and after surveys 5. A long term hardship scheme for generalised blight outside the 120m zone from the line, which is subject to meeting hardship conditions (like the existing scheme).

DfT resources including the consultation document, maps and further information are available from their website

Safeguarding consultation: This draws up a provisional set of boundaries for the safeguarding zone that will then protect this area from any new construction projects on land that could be needed for the London to West Midlands route of High Speed 2. The consultation invites statutory bodies and local authorities responsible for planning decisions to comment on these boundaries.

Impact on numbers of properties and businesses 1. The safeguarding 60 metre zone has 1101 properties in it (of which 338 actually will be demolished) 2. The voluntary purchase zone (the next 60m in rural areas) has 813 properties in it (of which some may be purchased) 3. The hardship zone (beyond 120m) has many hundreds of thousands in it (HS2AA understand that at least 170,000 were within 1km of Feb 2011 route or 250m from tunnel)
For more information, please contact Richard Houghton Tel: +44 (0)7803 178 037 Email: richardwhoughton@gmail.com