HS2 Property and Compensation Consultation

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News article

HS2 Property and Compensation consultation

October 2012

rural consultancy news

The Department for Transport have today published the public consultation on compensation procedures for those affected by Phase 1 of HS2, the proposed high speed railway between London, Birmingham and Lichfield.  

The document confirms that the Hybrid Bill is likely to go before Parliament by the end of 2013 with construction of the railway commencing in 2017 and the opening of Phase 1 being anticipated for 2026.  It is foreseen that the preferred route for Phase 2 (Leeds, Manchester and Heathrow) will be published late in 2012, at which point consultation will take place on that route.  

The consultation document asks for responses to a number of set questions before 31 January 2013.
 
Once consultation has taken place, the line of route and 60 metres either side (with some limited exceptions) will be safeguarded.  This will prevent new development that would obstruct the railway. Separate consultation on safeguarding has also been published today.
 
Those within the safeguarded area (60 metres either side of the railway) and the Voluntary Purchase Zone (120 metres either side of the railway in rural areas) can benefit from an Advanced Voluntary Purchase Scheme.  HS2 are suggesting that they will accept Blight Notices from within these areas, excepting where the railway is within a deep bore tunnel, which will allow properties to be purchased at full market value.  
 
Those outside of the Voluntary Purchase Zone may be able to apply for the Long Term Hardship Scheme. This scheme is much like the existing Exceptional Hardship Scheme in that it will only apply where the owners of the property will be affected by exceptional hardship if they cannot sell their property.  
 
Whereas the existing scheme has a three month marketing period, the new scheme will need properties to be marketed for twelve months with lack of sale being attributable to the threat of the railway being built. The scheme has however been widened in that there is an option for those who are likely to need to sell up to three years in the future to apply to the scheme and that where applicants have been refused entry to the scheme, they can reapply within six months and their application will only be considered against the grounds on which they were originally refused. There is unfortunately no right to appeal should refusal take place.
 
These newly announced measures are largely for the benefit of owner occupiers.  There is little new comfort for landlord owners of property.
 
Where owners retain property, they are entitled to compensation once Notice of Entry is served upon them (where land is to be taken) or for far more limited compensation one year after trains are running where no land is taken, but their property is affected by the railway.
 
Properties above tunnels are largely exempt from the Schemes described above, but the Government has offered ‘before and after surveys’ and ‘settlement deeds’ to protect the value of such property.  
 
It is important to note that these compensation provisions are for consultation only at this stage and have not been confirmed. It is however likely that they will form the backbone of the compensation available to affected property owners.  
 
It is most important that those affected by the scheme are aware of the contents of the consultation document which is available from the Department for Transport website and that, where they feel necessary, they respond to the consultation.

For further information please contact Jonathan Perks on 01295 226282 or email jonathan.perks@fishergerman.co.uk
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