Phase 2a compensation package announced

Yesterday Robert Goodwill, transport minister, in a written statement announced the government’s package of measures for owner occupiers along the line of route for Phase 2a of the HS2 project (West Midlands to Crewe).

This followed on from the Phase 2a public consultation which finished in February 2016.

These measures are based on the package available for Phase 1 (which begs the question as to whether the consultation would have any real effect) and come into place immediately, replacing the temporary ‘exceptional hardship scheme’ that has been in place for Phase 2a since 2013.

In addition, changes were made to the compensation scheme for Phase 1 (also applicable to Phase 2a). The two main changes are:

  • Need to sell – new guidance on “health and mobility” be made available, which the government says will “give wider consideration to an applicant’s health and mobility within their current property”
  • Valuations: applicants will be able to choose their own surveyor, with a second survey by a surveyor from HS2 Ltd’s panel. However if the two surveyors disagree by more than 10%, a third survey will be done by a surveyor from the HS2 panel.

The other compensation measures put in place for Phase 2a are:

  • Express Purchase – owner-occupiers may be able to sell their property to the Government at its full unblighted market value (as it would be if there were no plans for HS2), plus 10% (up to a maximum of £53,000, known as a home-loss payment) and reasonable moving expenses, including stamp duty.
  • Need to sell – for owner-occupiers who can demonstrate a compelling reason to sell their house but are unable to do so other than at a discount because of HS2.
  • Rent back – is available if a property that the Government has purchased under any of the HS2 property schemes is suitable for letting.
  • Extended homeowner protection zone – where a property is removed from surface safeguarding, an owner-occupier may be able to apply under express purchase for a period of five years from the date the property ceases to be affected by the directions.

In addition the rural support zone (RSZ) which will include rural properties unto 300m from the centre of the line will be extended to the A500 south of Crewe.

It’s worth noting that the consultation documents say that many people were concerned that the need to sell scheme was overly complicated.  I

In addition the Resident’s Commissioner update, also published yesterday said that as of 30th April, of the applications to the need to sell scheme received by HS2, on Phase 1 168 applications have been received, of which 76 have been accepted and 20 are pending a decision. A further 20 applications have been withdrawn. Of those applications considered by the panel so far, 59% have been accepted.

With  the Phase Two Exceptional Hardship Scheme she wrote “251 applications had been received. Of those on which the panel has made a decision, 42% have been accepted. This is a slight fall in the acceptance rate and will require further monitoring.”

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