Leaders welcome HS2 compensation package
Council leaders have welcomed an improved compensation and assistance package for property owners affected by the route of HS2.
The government has published the revised package for phase one between London and Birmingham, but council leaders expect the same package to be available to people affected in the Leeds city region once phase two gets underway.
An express purchase scheme is being launched for owner-occupiers of properties closest to the line, in the area known as the ‘surface safeguarded area’ (generally within 60 metres from the proposed line).
Under this scheme, the government could buy properties at the full unblighted market value, plus 10 per cent (up to £47,000) and reasonable moving expenses, including stamp duty.
The scheme is designed to be quick, clear and as straightforward as possible to make it easier for owner-occupiers to sell their property to the government, if they wish to do so.
Leeds City Council Leader Councillor Keith Wakefield said:
“These are very encouraging developments and are exactly the kind of packages we’d expect to see offered to people affected by phase two of HS2 here in Leeds.
“It is reassuring to see the HS2 board has listened to our calls to better compensation for those affected by the proposed route. This is what we have been calling for all along.
“We will continue to press the case for minimising any impact on communities that could lessen any social and economic benefits until we are satisfied that our concerns are fully addressed.”
A ‘rent-back’ option will also be available, which will mean those people who want to sell their properties but carry-on living where they are, may be able to do so. An exceptional hardship scheme will also continue to be available for those who have an urgent need to sell their home but are unable to do so because of HS2.
Pending further consultation, a voluntary purchase scheme could be introduced by the end of this year for owner-occupiers in rural areas outside the safeguarded area and up to 120 metres away from the line.
Following further consultation, the government intends to introduce a need to sell scheme and consider applications to buy properties at full unblighted 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. This scheme does not have a boundary. The government hopes to have this scheme available in urban and rural areas by the end of 2014 when it will replace the exceptional hardship scheme.
Beyond this compensation package the government will consult on a homeowner payment scheme which would entitle owner-occupiers to a cash payment if they live between 120 metres and 300 metres from the line in rural areas. This could enable people in these areas to share in the benefits of HS2 as it will run near them but would not provide them with a direct benefit.
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