£1.3bn compensation scheme revealed for HS2
The Government has announced its planned compensation package for properties affected by the proposed £17bn high speed rail link between London and Birmingham. It could result in a payout of up to £1.3bn, yet campaigners have argued it is still not enough.
Described as ‘generous’ by the DfT, the scheme goes beyond statutory requirements to compensate over 2,000 people affected by the first stage of the line.
The type of compensation available ranges from buying and leasing back 338 residential properties that would need demolishing, to purchase schemes for other buildings near the line under blight guidelines.
Properties within 120 metres of the route will qualify for compensation, which becomes more generous for houses within 60 metres of the line. These will be offered the value of their homes before the line was announced, plus an extra 10% up to £47,000.
A long-term hardship scheme will also be available to help those with a need to move during development, but unable to sell their homes.
The Government has also pledged to work with local authorities, housing associations and residents to develop a strategy and replace any lost social rented housing.
Rail minister Simon Burns said: “HS2 will completely transform the UK. It will define our country, not just for the 21st century but beyond – linking our major cities in a way previous generations could only dream of.
“No major infrastructure project on this scale can be built without some impact on local communities, but I am determined to do everything I can to minimise the effect of HS2 on those closest to the line.
“We have developed the right compensation package, providing absolutely the right support for those affected, while at the same time protecting the interests of taxpayers. We have thought long and hard about this and the measures I have announced are fair and strike the right balance for local communities and the British taxpayer.”
But Hilary Wharf, director of HS2 Action Alliance, said: “What’s on offer is derisory. It’s cynical and dishonest and gives the lie to repeated Government promises that this would be the most generous compensation scheme ever. They themselves say it’s comparable to HS1’s arrangements – regarded as unacceptable 20 years ago.”
The proposals are now out to consultation until the end of January.
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