Love it or loathe the HS2 juggernaut continues to plough ever forwards

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News article

Love it or loathe the HS2 juggernaut continues to plough ever forwards

July 2017

hs2

£6.6 billion worth of civil engineering contracts have today been awarded to various companies on HS2 Phase One.  This will see trains rolling into the new Curzon Street station in Birmingham by 2026. Government estimate this investment could create up to 16,000 jobs.

Phase 2a which is the portion of the scheme from Birmingham up to Crewe, and for which progress has been accelerated, is expected to open one year after Phase One.  The Hybrid Bill for Phase 2a has today been published and deposited into Parliament.

Likewise, we now also have route confirmation for the top of the HS2 ‘Y’ shape - the Western leg from Crewe up to Manchester and the Eastern leg from Birmingham up to Leeds with a detour into Sheffield.

We are acting for clients affected by all three phases across the HS2 scheme. With a vast amount of experience and knowledge, we have the resource that only a national firm can provide and also the in-depth technical knowledge and experience at a local level.

Now that the Phase 2a Hybrid Bill has been published or to give it its correct title the 'High Speed Rail (West Midlands - Crewe) Bill 2017-19' up-to-date scheme plans have been produced as part of the Environmental Statement which feeds into the Bill.  These show where such as compound areas and road realignments are proposed.  In the forthcoming months these areas will be safeguarded to protect the areas required for the building and operation of the scheme from development.  When this happens, those who have previously been outside of the safeguarded area will in certain cases be able to serve a blight notice on the Secretary of State for Transport to compel government to purchase their property.

For those who still fall outside of the safeguarded area there are discretionary HS2 schemes including the Need to Sell Scheme and the Voluntary Purchase Scheme and Cash Offer Scheme.  Liz Farrall at our Stafford office says, "the Need to Sell Scheme which replaced the Exceptional Hardship Scheme is still difficult to satisfy but does give those further away from the scheme the ability to sell their property where they are unable to do so as a result of the proposed railway scheme.  The Voluntary Purchase Scheme or Cash Office Schemes are easier to satisfy but you need to be nearer the proposed scheme geographically and of course satisfy scheme criteria".

She comments that not everyone does wish to move or can move away from the scheme.  Particularly where there are organisations or farming businesses.  Liz informs that the Stafford office are acting for a large number of clients where the aim is not to serve a blight notice but to maintain the businesses and lessen the impact of the scheme on both the business and people concerned.

Liz says early dialogue with HS2 Limited is essential. The message we have received is that HS2 Limited wish to continue communication without recourse to Select Committee hearings.  Of course there will still be the need to make representations before the HS2 Select Committee but wherever possible the first option is through dialogue to find a solution.

Now that the HS2 Phase 2a Hybrid Bill has been published there will be a period of consultation. The consultation period will end on 30 September 2017 and will be followed in March/April 2018 by the Select Committee process. It is envisaged that the Bill will gain Royal Assent by the end of 2019 with works starting on the ground in early 2020.  Meantime, Liz says that in all likelihood you may be approached for access for ground investigation surveys, together with accesses or compound areas for ground investigation survey purposes.  If you require assistance then please do contact Liz at the Stafford Office.

If you need advice concerning HS2 or other infrastructure schemes then contact one of our team:

Liz Farrall - Stafford - email here

Jonathan Perks - Banbury - email here

John Ikin - Ashby de la Zouch - email here

Jack Healy - Doncaster - email here

Hugh Maxfield - Knutsford - email here

Richard Scriven - Newark - email here

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