£1.3bn for those living on high-speed rail route is 'attempt to buy off critics'
Opponents of high-speed link between London and Birmingham condemn new compensation deal
A sum of £1.3bn was set aside today to compensate families
living along the route of the planned high-speed rail link between
London-Birmingham, as ministers showed their determination to press
ahead with the HS2 project.
In an apparent move to appease critics, including Tory MPs, the Department for Transport promised to pay people more than the value of their homes before they were blighted by the proposals. Someone whose house was worth £450,000 before the route emerged could get more than £500,000.
But the offer was denounced by opponents of HS2 as a cynical attempt to buy off resistance to the scheme. Campaigners had drawn heart from the Government's failure in the last Queen's Speech to publish a Bill paving the way to the construction of the £32bn connection.
But the Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, told The Independent this month he was about to bring forward the legislation necessary to start work on the line, which cuts through several Tory-held constituencies.
Today, the DfT published plans to buy more than 820 homes within 60m (197ft) of the route. It proposed to pay the unblighted value of the properties, as well as additional compensation of 10 per cent up to £47,000 and "reasonable" moving costs.
People who live in the countryside – not in built-up areas such as North London – that are between 60m and 120m away from the track will be entitled to the full worth of their homes. Residents who refuse to accept the offers would have their homes seized under compulsory purchase orders. The unblighted values will be assessed by independent surveyors appointed by the DfT, which envisages that it could pay out £1.3bn. Simon Burns, the Rail Minister, said yesterday: "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."
But Joe Rukin, of the Stop HS2 campaign, said: "We see this as a cynical, uncosted attempt to buy the opposition, and it will not work. The Government has massively increased the overall cost of the HS2 project to even more astronomically unaffordable proportions, while still leaving many homeowners in limbo."
Hilary Wharf, of the HS2 Action Alliance, said: "What's on offer is derisory. It is cynical and dishonest and gives the lie to repeated Government promises that this would be the most generous compensation scheme ever."
The HS2 link, which is due to be completed by 2026, will cut travelling times between London and Birmingham, will pass through Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and Staffordshire.
John Moore starred in Coca Cola and Morrisons adverts
Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy
New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning
New UK station Russia Today gives a bizarre view of Britain
Charlie Sheen could be set to revive his role as a hedonistic womaniser
Review: Mike Leigh's biopic is a rambling, rich character study
Former boxer recalls incident when he was seven years old
Want to ward off (or welcome) trick-or-treaters? Here's how
- 1 'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
- 2 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 3 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
- 4 If you think Russell Brand’s new book is confused, you should read what his critics have to say about it
- 5 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
Halloween 2014: From the Screaming Man of Pluckley to the 'White Lady' of the Tower of London - Britain's 20 most haunted places
Russian politician says Apple CEO Tim Cook should be 'banned' from country after coming out as gay
Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission £100k +: SThree: Trainee Recru...
£35000 - £40000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...
£20000 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd...
£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education is urgently...