Government promises a top-up for HS2 compensation payouts

 

Compensation measures for residents affected by the London-Birmingham HS2 high-speed rail project will go “significantly beyond statutory requirements”, the Government promised today.

The Government said it would buy any owner-occupied home in the "safeguarded area" - an area within 60 metres of the planned route.

As well as paying the unblighted value of the property, the Government is proposing to pay additional compensation of 10% up to the value of £47,000.

The safeguarded area includes 338 homes that will have to be demolished to make way for the first phase of HS2 which cuts through Tory heartlands and is bitterly opposed by some councils and many residents.

There are 483 rural residential properties within the safeguarded area as well as 340 urban residential properties and 278 business properties.

The Government, which will consult on the compensation package, is also establishing a voluntary purchase zone (VPZ) a further 60 metres outside the safeguarded zone in rural areas.

Within the VPZ homeowners can sell their homes at their full unblighted value. There are 788 homes and 25 business properties in this zone.

The Government also announced today:

* A long-term hardship scheme to help those with a need to move during the development of HS2 but who are unable to sell their home;

* A sale-and-rent-back scheme to give more flexibility to homeowners who wish to stay in properties which will ultimately be required to allow for construction work;

* A package of measures to provide clarity and reinforce confidence in properties above tunnels, including before and after surveys;

* A commitment to work with local authorities, housing associations and affected tenants to develop a strategy for replacing any lost social rented housing.

HS2 is expected to be completed around 2026 and will significantly reduce London to Birmingham rail times.

A second Y-shaped phase, taking the line to north-east and north-west England and beyond, is due to be completed around 2032/33.

Rail minister Simon Burns said: "HS2 will completely transform the UK. It will define our country, not just for the 21st century but beyond - linking our major cities in a way previous generations could only dream of.

"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."

He went on: "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.

"We have thought long and hard about this and the measures I have announced are fair and strike the right balance for local communities and the British taxpayer."

Hilary Wharf, director of the HS2 Action Alliance, said: "What's on offer is derisory. It's cynical and dishonest and gives the lie to repeated Government promises that this would be the most generous compensation scheme ever. They themselves say it's comparable to HS1's (the London to Folkestone Channel Tunnel fast link) arrangements - regarded as unacceptable 20 years ago."

She went on: "For those affected by blight (beyond the 120-metre mark from the line) it effectively just continues the existing hardship scheme, under which just 60 households have qualified in the last two years.

"If the Government can't afford fair compensation, it can't afford HS2."

Ms Wharf continued: "This is neither a generous nor the right package for those impacted by the plans for HS2. Under these proposals many thousands of ordinary people will be left with houses they cannot sell or worth considerably less than they were before the plans for this eye-watering, expensive white elephant were announced. It offers no prospect of relief for the vast majority of those whose lives are ruined by HS2."

Ms Wharf said the consultation on compensation had been delayed three times since it was first scheduled for February last year, "with the lives of thousands of ordinary people - from Camden to Staffordshire - damaged by this fatally flawed plan".

She went on: "As the last consultation was a shambles, losing hundreds of responses and triggering five judicial reviews, we have no expectation that this will be any better.

"As with every step of this fatally flawed project those impacted have been insulted and treated with contempt by an incompetent DfT (Department for Transport) and uncaring Government who seem hell bent on pushing though HS2 no matter what the personal, financial or environmental cost."

PA

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Game Of Thrones
Uh-oh, winter is coming. Ouch, my eyes! Ygritte’s a goner. Lysa’s a goner. Tywin’s a goner. Look, a dragon
tvSpoiler warning: The British actor says viewers have 'not seen the last' of his character
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Sport
Esteban Cambiasso makes it 3-3
premier league
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
premier leaguePlus updates from Everton vs Palace
News
people'I hated him during those times'
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
News
i100
News
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleFirst memoir extracts show she 'felt pressured' into going out with the Sex Pistols manager
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late
Sport
Lewis Hamilton in action during the Singapore Grand Prix
Formula OneNico Rosberg retires after 14 laps
News
i100
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
News
peopleActress tells men: 'It's your issue too'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam