I can today (26 June 2014) inform the House that under the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2010, I have issued updated and revised safeguarding directions to local planning authorities along the London to West Midlands HS2 route. These adjust the previous directions issued in October 2013 to more closely match the description of the scheme set out in the HS2 hybrid Bill and accompanying environmental statement currently before the House.
Safeguarding directions aim to ensure that land which has been earmarked for major infrastructure projects is protected from conflicting developments before construction starts. They also enable many of those who own property in the safeguarded area to serve a blight notice and request that the government purchase their property under the terms of the compensation code.
As the government is no longer planning on building a link between HS1 and HS2 at the London end of the railway, the relevant land has also been removed from safeguarding.
HS2 Ltd is writing to all known property and land owners within the relevant areas to notify them of the revised directions, and their effect.
Safeguarding directions also trigger statutory blight procedures under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Owner-occupiers of properties within the safeguarded area who wish to move may apply to sell their property to the government by serving a blight notice. If they meet the relevant criteria they can expect to receive the ‘un-blighted’ open market value of their home, a home loss payment of 10% of the value of their home—up to £47,000—and reasonable moving costs such as legal fees, and stamp duty on a replacement property.
As I announced on 9 April, the HS2 express purchase scheme now applies in the surface safeguarded area. The scheme provides eligible property owners with the same compensation entitlement, whether or not their property is required for the scheme. Where an area of land has been removed from the safeguarded area by these new safeguarding directions, the express purchase scheme will remain available to owners of properties in that area - the extended homeowner protection zone - for 5 years.
This does not apply to properties along the formerly proposed link between HS1 and HS2, which will no longer be close to the high speed railway.
Full information and maps describing the new directions, as well as guidance and application forms for express purchase and other property compensation schemes, are available at www.hs2.org.uk or by phoning the HS2 Ltd public enquiries line on 020 7944 4908.