Ministers announced a £1.3bn scheme to compensate families living along the route of the London-Birmingham HS2 high-speed rail link as they signalled their determination to press ahead with the project.
In an apparent move to appease critics, the Department of Transport promised to pay householders more than the value of their homes before they were blighted by the plans. Yesterday they published plans to buy more than 820 homes within 60 meters of the planned route. It proposed to pay the unblighted value of the property, as well as additional compensation up to £47,000 and "reasonable" moving costs.
Last night the offer was denounced by HS2's opponents as a cynical attempt to buy off resistance to the scheme. Joe Rukin, the campaign coordinator for Stop HS2, said: "We see this as a cynical, uncosted attempt to buy off the opposition to the project, and it will not work." Residents who refuse to move would eventually have their homes seized under compulsory purchase orders.
HS2, which is due to be finished by 2026 and will reduce travelling times between London and Birmingham, will pass through Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and Staffordshire.
A second phase is expected to be completed around by 2033.
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