Residents affected by the first phase of HS2 from London to the West Midlands will be offered a comprehensive package of compensation measures which go significantly beyond statutory requirements, the government confirmed today (25 October 2012).
HS2, a national high-speed rail network linking Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds with London and Heathrow, will transform the UK - bringing cities together, delivering jobs and growth, and providing a long-term solution to the capacity crunch facing the existing rail network. Stations will also be situated in the East Midlands and South Yorkshire, while high speed trains will continue on the existing rail network to serve destinations further north and into Scotland. The government has already consulted on the route of the first phase of the project to the West Midlands and the Transport Secretary will publish his preferred routes for the second phase of the scheme later this year.
However, the government recognises the impact the project is having on property markets along the first phase of the route and, after careful consideration, has decided to go above and beyond what is required by law.
The measures proposed today go beyond the statutory requirements by:
- providing a government commitment to buy any owner-occupied home in the ‘safeguarded area’ closest to the route - as set out in law, the government will then pay the full unblighted value of the property, along with additional compensation of 10% up to a value of £47,000
- establishing a ‘voluntary purchase zone’ immediately outside of the safeguarded area in rural areas, within which homeowners can sell their homes at their full unblighted value
- a long term hardship scheme to help those with a need to move during the development of HS2 but who are unable to sell their home
- a sale and rent back scheme to give more flexibility to homeowners who wish to stay in properties which will ultimately be required to allow for construction work
- a package of measures to provide clarity and reinforce confidence in properties above tunnels, including before and after surveys
- a commitment to work with local authorities, housing associations and affected tenants to develop a strategy for replacing any lost social rented housing
Rail minister Simon Burns said:
HS2 will completely transform the UK. It will define our country, not just for the 21st century but beyond - linking our major cities in a way previous generations could only dream of.
No major infrastructure project on this scale can be built without some impact on local communities, but I am determined to do everything I can to minimise the effect of HS2 on those closest to the line.
We have developed the right compensation package, providing absolutely the right support for those affected, while at the same time protecting the interests of taxpayers. We have thought long and hard about this and the measures I have announced are fair and strike the right balance for local communities and the British taxpayer.
The compensation package announced today is comparable with the arrangements put in place for homeowners affected by the construction of HS1. It will now be subject to a period of consultation until 31 January 2013.
Alongside the proposed compensation package, HS2 Ltd and the Department for Transport has also launched a three-month consultation aimed at local authorities on safeguarding the land needed in order to build and run the line between London and the West Midlands. Safeguarding is the technical term for the planning mechanism that protects large-scale public infrastructure projects from conflicting developments nearby.
Notes to Editors
The consultation document High Speed Two: property and compensation for London to West Midlands closes on 31 January 2013:
Consultation events for the property compensation consultation will take place along the line of route.
Further information is available on the high speed rail consultation website or by contacting the HS2 enquiries line on: 0207 944 4908.
The consultation document High Speed Two: safeguarding for London to West Midlands is available and closes on 31 January 2013:
This consultation is aimed at planning authorities. An email is being sent to local authorities, community forums and MPs inviting them to participate.
Further details on the compensation measures published today (25 October 2012):
Streamlined system of advanced purchase within the safeguarded zone
Under these measures, owner-occupiers of residential properties and owners of commercial properties (with a rateable value not exceeding £34,800) where some or all of the property is within the safeguarded area (usually 60 metres either side of the track) will be able to ask the government to purchase their property under compulsory terms at a time of their choosing after safeguarding directions are made (expected Spring 2013). This means they will receive the unblighted open market value of the property, a home loss payment (10% of the value of the property, up to £47,000) and disturbance costs (such as fees, removal costs and stamp duty on a new property of equivalent value).
The government proposes that where the entirety of an eligible property is within the safeguarded area and the owner asks the government to purchase their property we will agree, whether it is actually required for the railway or not. We will also consider purchase requests where only part of a property is within the safeguarded zone.
Streamlined system for voluntary purchase within a new voluntary purchase zone in rural areas
The government will also establish a new voluntary purchase zone outside of the immediate safeguarded zone within which owner-occupiers of residential property or owners of commercial property (with a rateable value not exceeding £34,800) will be also able to ask the government to purchase their property for its unblighted open market value.
As the impact of HS2 on the property market has been and is expected to continue to be greater in rural areas than in urban areas the voluntary purchase zone will run from the M25 northwards to the south of the delta junction to Birmingham and to the north of the delta junction with the junction with the West Coast Main Line. The voluntary purchase zone will cover an area 120 metres either side of the line of route, except over bored tunnels.
A hardship scheme for those beyond the safeguarded and voluntary purchase zones
Those with a need to move during the development of HS2 but who are unable to sell their home despite being outside both the safeguarded area and the voluntary purchase zone will be able to apply to have the government purchase their homes under a hardship scheme.
A sale and rent back scheme
This will allow homeowners whose property will need to be demolished to sell their property to the government when they wish but remain in their homes as tenants until their land is actually needed for construction.
A series of measures designed to provide peace of mind for property owners above tunnels
Providing before and after surveys at government expense and a ‘settlement deed’ which will guarantee that HS2 would be liable for any damage caused by tunnelling, in perpetuity.
While the safeguarding consultation is aimed primarily at local authorities, individuals are welcome to contribute if they wish. However, if they are particularly interested in the proposed compensation arrangements for the impact safeguarding has on their home or property, they are encouraged to respond to the property and compensation consultation.