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Clarification at last for HS2 neighbours

Wed 21 Jan 2015

Homeowners with properties close to the path of HS2 Phase 1 have finally been given details of compensation, ending a long wait for clarification from the Department for Transport.

A package of compensation measures were finally announced this week, put forward after two consultations on Phase 1 of the route which is proposed to link London and the West Midlands, cutting through parts of the countryside between Tamworth and Sutton Coldfield.

Many people in those areas will be directly affected by HS2 and as leading regional estate agents, Green & Co has been keeping a close eye on the options put forward.

The latest announcement includes details of statutory compensation and additional measures available to people whose land or property may be affected by the construction or operation of HS2.

A number of new schemes have been announced, together with updates to existing schemes. Depending on the distance of your land or property from the route, eligible options could include:

Express Purchase – available for those homes which are closest to the line, in what is known as the ‘surface safeguarded’ area. Under this scheme owner-occupiers may be able to sell their home to the Government at its full ‘unblighted’ value (as if there were no plans for HS2), plus 10 per cent (up to £49,000) and reasonable moving expenses, including stamp duty.

Voluntary Purchase – people in rural areas outside the safeguarding area and up to 120 metres away from the line can sell their home to the Government for its full unblighted value at any time up to one year after the line opens. This area has been defined as the “Rural Support Zone”.

Cash Offer – previously known as the alternative cash offer, this gives owner-occupiers within the Rural Support Zone a second measure to choose from. If they wish, they can remain in their home and receive 10 per cent of the unblighted value (subject to a minimum value of £30,000 and maximum of £100,000).

Need to Sell Scheme – this scheme does not have a boundary and is available to owner-occupiers who have a compelling reason to sell their home, such as ill health or job relocation, but are unable to do so because of HS2. In these cases, the Government will pay the full unblighted value and this scheme replaces the Phase One Exceptional Hardship Scheme (EHS), for which some homeowners may have already applied. Existing applications will automatically transfer to the new scheme.

Homeowner Payment Scheme – homeowners outside the Rural Support Zone but within 300 metres of the line will receive a financial payment up to £22,500 (depending on distance from the centre line of the railway). The Department of Transport says this is “to ensure that people who live near the line receive an early share in the benefits of HS2”.

Rent Back – the Express Purchase, Voluntary Purchase and Need to Sell Schemes are all accompanied by a voluntary Rent Back option – owner-occupiers may be able to rent the property back from the Government if they wish to continue living there.

For further information the Department for Transport has set up a Community Relations Helpdesk (020 7944 4908) or you can email

Paul Ivens, Director

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