Philip Hammond has confirmed that there will be an Exceptional Hardship Scheme, and that it will be open to applications from Friday 20th August.
Download the DfT’s FAQ here.
HS2 Action and the Stop Hs2 campaign are disappointed that the scheme will still be very restrictive.
In particular, the FAQ states that a “core requirement” is “a pressing need to sell that property at that time” rather then the scheme being open to all owners of property along the route.
It does not include properties over tunnels, except near tunnel entrances and exits.
However, the scheme has been slightly improved from that in the consultation document.
Firstly, the type of property now includes some small business premises and agricultural units. The EHS also applies to repossessed properties. And – like HS2 Action suggested – it includes properties which have been inherited following a death.
Secondly, although there are still major restrictions on who can apply to the scheme, the definition of exceptional hardship has been increased. In particular, the scheme has been extended to include properties being sold following a divorce. We hope that the DfT’s definition of “changed family circumstances” would, in practice, include downsizing, but this is not specifically included in the list of criteria.
So, it is a little better then it was. However, for people directly affected by the proposed route, it is still a poor scheme.