Time to comment on HS2 compensation schemes

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Property owners likely to be affected by the controversial London-to-Birmingham high-speed rail link (HS2) now have the chance to comment on the Government’s new proposed discretionary compensation schemes.

The Department for Transport last week announced its long-awaited proposals for a series of schemes that, it claims, will help restore confidence to the property market along the route of HS2 and make it easier for those affected to claim compensation.

The proposed discretionary schemes go beyond the statutory compensation schemes that the government is legally obliged to comply with.

A consultation on the proposed “Safeguarding” zone along the route, which generally extends to 60 metres either side of the track, has also been announced.

Safeguarding is the technical term for the planning mechanism that protects large-scale public infrastructure projects from conflicting developments nearby.

Both consultations will close on January 31, 2013.

Under the proposals, affected property owners may choose to be treated via one of the discretionary schemes, depending upon the type and location of their property, each brings a subtly different entitlement to compensation.

James Del Mar, head of Knight Frank’s HS2 team, said: “The first thing affected property owners should do is find out which zone their property is in.

“Once they have established that, they can find out which discretionary compensation scheme may be relevant. This will allow them to either respond to the consultation if they feel the packages are inadequate or start to plan for which packages they should apply for.

“Alternatively, they may conclude it will be better to make a claim based on existing legislation such as Statutory Blight and Compulsory Purchase Orders.

“We will be looking very carefully at the details once they are finalised before advising our clients whether to take advantage of them or not.

“Farmers and rural landowners will need to plan particularly carefully and take expert advice because they are likely to own a number of affected property types – farmland, commercial buildings and residential property – that fall within the various zones and could be eligible for a number of the different compensation packages.

“It does seem unfair that commercial property with a rateable value over £34,800 will not qualify for the new schemes. This could penalise those farmers who have created successful diversification enterprises.

“Whether the 60m safeguarding strip will be adequate along the entire route is debatable, but it does seem wrong that the “sale-and-leaseback” scheme only applies to those whose houses will need to be actually demolished. Other properties should also qualify.”

“There are still going to be many people who will not qualify for any form of compensation for the loss in value of their homes caused by HS2 until one year after the line has been operational. That strikes me as iniquitous, particularly to those who live outside the Voluntary Purchase Zone and want to move home, but will not qualify for the revised hardship scheme even though HS2 has reduced the value of their homes.”

For further information contact:

James Del Mar, on 01488 688507, email james.del.mar@knightfrank.com




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