The Fair Deal for London Alliance has, following a public consultation, today published its own compensation charter for London, which would also apply to urban areas affected by HS2 in Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester & Sheffield, calling for extensive changes to the Government’s HS2 compensation scheme. Whilst the charter aims mainly to deal with discrepancies between the compensation available in urban and rural areas, some suggestions would enhance the compensation available in rural areas too.
The Alliance says that the current scheme means that residents and businesses in urban areas will be compensated less for suffering more disruption than rural areas.
The Charter calls for:
- The establishment of an independent panel to draw up and adjudicate on compensation schemes for major infrastructure projects.
- To make the ‘homeowner payment’ scheme available in urban areas.
- To change the principle of the ‘need to sell’ scheme to one of ‘want to sell’.
- The removal of the ‘additional value cap’ in respect to the express purchase scheme.
- The introduction of ‘personal compensation budgets’ to deal with the impacts of construction for all owner-occupiers, tenants and businesses.
- To make the proposed ‘cash offer’ available to owner occupiers and tenants.
- Replacing distance from the centre-line of HS2 with the measure of construction and operational impact as the main criterion by which access to compensation is defined.
- To compensate businesses fully, for example due to increased costs and loss of trade.
- To remove the rateable value cap on compensation available to businesses.
- The introduction of a property bond.
Councillor Sarah Hayward, Leader of Camden Council, said:
“This Government has provided fair compensation to the countryside but for cities and towns it’s woefully inadequate. Ministers must address this otherwise Londoners are likely to be left struggling for decades; out of pocket, forced to move from their homes and living in broken communities.”
Sir John Randall, MP for Uxbridge, said:
“It is absolutely fundamental that fair compensation is given on an equal basis to all individuals, businesses and communities regardless of whether it is an urban, suburban or rural area. The devastation caused by HS2 does not differentiate.”