Property owners living close to High Speed 2’s phase one route could sell their homes to the government for 10 per cent more than market value, under newly proposed compensation packages.
The Department for Transport has today set out new compensation measures for residents living between London and the West Midlands.
The measures include “an express purchase scheme”, which would enable government to buy properties at their full “unblighted” market value as well as contributing an extra 10 per cent of the market value up to £47,000.
The scheme could see government committing to pay “reasonable” moving expenses, including stamp duty, for owners living near the surface safeguarded area (generally 60 m from the proposed line).
People who have an urgent need to sell their home will also be able to do so under the Exceptional Hardship scheme, which will be continued.
The government has already bought 114 properties at a cost of around £67m from owner-occupiers living near the route.
In addition to government’s announcements, HS2 will create a new Residents’ Charter alongside the appointment of an independent residents commissioner, who will liaise with residents who have property that may be affected by the rail line.
The commissioner will report to HS2 chairman Sir David Higgins and will be asked to produce a monthly progress report for the HS2 board.
The report will address how HS2 deals with communities and individuals who are affected by property issues.
Speaking in response to today’s announcement, Sir David said: “We must be as clear about our compensation policies as we are about the other positives of HS2. Fairness, transparency and efficiency have to be at the heart of everything we do.
“People rightly want to know what they’re entitled to and how quickly we will deal with their claims. The new charter and commissioner will provide residents with the confidence that we’ll deal with each case clearly, fairly and as fast as we can.”
The government also intends to introduce a Need to Sell scheme to consider applications to buy properties at full market value from owner-occupiers who have a compelling need to sell, such as job relocation or ill health, but who are unable to do so because of plans to build HS2.
The government will also consult on a homeowner payment scheme which would entitle owner-occupiers to a cash payment (worth between £7,500 and £22,500) if they live between 120 m and 300 m from the line in rural areas.
Express Purchase scheme The government could buy property for homeowners living closest to the line, including extra expenses such as stamp duty.
Rent-back option People who want to sell their properties (under any of the schemes being announced) but carry on living where they are, may be able to do so.
Exceptional Hardship scheme Will continue to be available for those who have an urgent need to sell their home but are unable to do so because of HS2.