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Friday, June 21, 2024

Government announces ‘generous’ HS2 compensation package

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Affected homeowners along the first phase of HS2 route between London and the West Midlands will be offered a compensation package which will go ‘significantly’ beyond statutory requirements, the government has said.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has pledged to pay the full ‘unblighted’ value of properties within the safeguarded area, which is usually about 60 metres either side of the track, as well as additional compensation of 10 per cent up to a value of £47,000.

Once complete, the high-speed network will connect Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds with the capital.

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.

Measures proposed today include:

  • 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 un-blighted value of the property, along with additional compensation of 10 per cent 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 un-blighted 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.”

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