Property owners along the London to Birmingham route of High Speed 2 have been offered a ‘comprehensive’ package of new compensation options.
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin introduced a wave of financial support for home and business owners who will be affected by the route of the first phase of HS2, while appointing a residents’ commissioner to ensure local communities are treated in ‘a fair, clear, competent and reasonable manner’.
Owner-occupiers of homes and small businesses located between around 60 metres and 120 metres from the line in rural areas can now apply to HS2 Ltd to purchase their property at full value. The voluntary purchase scheme will offer the value of the property as if there were no plans for the high-speed line.
Alternatively, property owners can also accept a cash offer of 10% of their building’s ‘un-blighted’ value if they do not want to re-locate.
Following Royal Assent of the Phase One HS2 Hybrid Bill, rural residents located between 120 metres and 300 metres of the line will be able to apply for a homeowner payment ranging between £7,500 and £22,500.
On top of this, eligible owner-occupiers living any distance from the line can now apply to the need to sell scheme. Replacing the exceptional hardship scheme, this will pay the ‘un-blighted’ value of the property to people with a compelling reason to sell their building but who have been unable to do so due to HS2 without significantly reducing price.
The company responsible for developing HS2 has also launched a resident’s charter in a bid to ensure communities along the route are treated appropriately. A new residents’ commissioner, Deborah Fazan, will work to ensure at HS2 Ltd meets these commitments.
Mr McLoughlin said: ‘This comprehensive package of compensation and assistance is looking after those people who live along the HS2 route while balancing our responsibilities to the taxpayer.
‘People at the heart of this vital new railway will also benefit from HS2 Ltd’s new residents’ charter and the appointment of the residents’ commissioner, who will ensure that the commitments in the charter are upheld.
‘Building HS2 will create extra space on our rail network, create jobs and support business and is a vital part of the government’s long-term economic plan,’ he added.
Simon Crowther, HS2 Ltd’s land and property director added: ‘This new transport link will bring significant benefits for the whole country but it is important that those living near to the railway are able to easily access the financial assistance that the government is offering. The residents’ charter sets out our commitment to making that happen.’