The full extent of blight caused by HS2 has been officially rated at 100% by a building society, as the Woolwich Building society officially valued a house near the proposed line at £0:00. The former post office is around 450 metres from the proposed HS2 line in Turweston, Bucks, near Brackley, which is well outside the 120 metres within which the Government is proposing homes would receive automatic compensation. Given that a home 450 metres from the line has been valued at nothing, it is likely the mortgage lender sees the entire village of Turweston as completely worthless.
Former postmistress Elfrida Harper-Tarr MBE, 97, had the home on the market for £275,000 and had received an offer for the property last year, but the buyer failed to get a mortgage after The Woolwich valued the property at zero pounds and zero pence.
In a statement The Woolwich, who provide mortgages for Barclays, said;
“The property is located within an area which is likely to be effected by the proposed high speed rail link HS2. In the future there will be disruption during the construction of the rail link and there will be ongoing impact affecting the quiet enjoyment of the property. The consequences of the proposal have had a significant prejudicial affect on property in the village and none have been recently sold on the open market. This property is therefore not considered a suitable security for normal lending purposes as demand is adversely affected.”
Ms Harper-Tarr, who is blind, left the property for residential care in August, which is costing £3,500 a month, with her family saying the money is going to run out in three months. Her 76-year-old son, Mike, said:
“My mother is blind and completely immobile. She is in need of round-the-clock care. Her savings will run out in three months and if we don’t find a cash buyer by then we don’t know what we’ll do. It’s going to be a bit late in the day for a lady who is blind and totally relying on carers to keep her alive. You’re faced with needing someone who is willing to pay cash and does not require a mortgage. This is going to be repeated up and down the country because people aren’t going to rush to buy a house near the HS2 route.”
The house was due to be bought by Lizzie and David Babister who live on the same street, and have had a remortgage application on their current house turned down, also because of the drop in value caused by the HS2 plans. The Harper-Tarr family will now apply for compensation under the Exceptional Hardship Scheme, which in two and a half years has only paid out to 16% of applicants.
Stop HS2 Campaign Coordinator Joe Rukin said;
“Last week Patrick McLoughlin said the ‘upset’ of HS2 was worth it. Well he should get himself down to Turweston, or indeed anywhere near the route and tell them that and we’ll see if he gets out alive. We have heard of many estate agents telling people their houses are worthless and demanding their fees up front before marketing properties, but this is the first time we have seen an official zero valuation from a lender, and the situation is only going to get worse.”
“The Government keep talking about the supposed benefits of HS2, but they have made no effort to calculate the disbenefits of construction or of lost businesses, amenities or home values, and without those calculations their entire case for HS2 is simply fraudulent. We estimated there are 172,000 properties effected by Stage 1 on HS2 alone, with a lost monetary value of £5bn, before this zero valuation came in. The Government spin is that they will be ‘generous’ with compensation, but the truth is only 16% of applicants have been paid up in two and a half years so far. They have turned a blind eye to how property blight effects the lives of real people and how it will effect the economy, because they don’t want to hear anything bad about HS2. They have to take steps to compensate anyone experiencing loss fully, and it they can’t afford to do that, they can’t afford HS2.
A consultation on Phase One compensation ends at Midnight on 31st January.
As The Woolwich have attempted to backtrack on this state of affairs and have since come up with three different stories as to why a zero valuation was given, here is the actual valuation report. All you need read is the last paragraph.