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HS2 considering future of ‘no prior knowledge’ compensation requirement

Homeowners affected by HS2 may be entitled to compensation even if they bought their property knowing it could be affected by the high-speed rail project, the chairman of HS2 has said.

As part of ongoing efforts to address concerns that HS2 is failing to engage with residents along the rail line, Deborah Fazan, the residents’ commissioner, recommended that its compensation arrangements be reviewed.

In particular, she said that a requirement for residents to prove they had ‘no prior knowledge’ of the scheme when they bought their property, intended to prevent the scheme being exploited, was leading to a lower-than-expected rate of compensation being approved.

In his response to Fazan’s report, David Higgins, the chair of HS2 Ltd, said: “It is a complex issue but we are having ongoing discussions with the mortgage industry and the DfT to see if the ‘no prior knowledge’ criterion can be improved in future.”

Fazan also criticised the scheme for not doing enough to engage with residents, with no outreach meetings planned beyond April this year.

Higgins said that a new awareness-raising campaign, launched this month, has made contact with over 100,000 properties through leaflets, posters, Facebook advertising and stakeholder briefings.

He said HS2 would apply what it had learned from the campaign to future outreach efforts.

Higgins concluded: “It has been a positive period of growth and evolution for our community engagement activity, not least for property-related issues. At the same time, we recognise that more can always be done to help communities affected by HS2 in preparing for its potential impact and accessing the support available.

“The scale and range of our engagement programme will need to continue its upward trajectory as we approach Royal Assent and beyond, and we welcome the challenge.”

(Image c. Rui Vieira from PA Wire)

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Dr.Peter Long,National Rail Industry Theologian   26/08/2016 at 16:50

HS2 can learn much from the community rail movement in the UK,to ramp up its community and public engagement.

Gb   26/08/2016 at 18:45

In my opinion, HS2 continues to be a 'white elephant' with no demonstrable business case. There are better and quicker ways to address the rail capacity issue than building HS2 without spending this huge amount of money. The High Speed enthusiasts are being extremely selfish in riding rough shod over objecting opinion and feelings. The Govt., should drop this scheme immediately and adopt simpler, effective solutions and spend the saving on the NHS, the Police, flood defences, education and other public services in dire need.

Pete Douglas   26/08/2016 at 21:55

When "customer engagement" managers actually write down what per are asking, when HS2 respond to questions within 20 working days, when HS2 revise their report to parliament to give factual numbers to actual demolitions proposed, when HS2 give the true cost of ALL their proposals then maybe, just maybe the people will listen. When the deceit, untruths and guesstimates are removed from the reports and the elected representatives are allowed to make decisions based on facts then maybe the public will accept and embrace a properly engineered, minimalist impact scheme.

KB   26/08/2016 at 22:06

HS2 ltd do not care about communication. They have no facts or figures to communicate anyway. As a resident that is soon to live 300m away from this white elephant I can tell you that a generic leaflet informing me that my nice little village is about to be ruined and a consultation event where no one could answer any questions with facts is not adequate communication. We will fight this all the way.

TP   26/08/2016 at 22:12

For the cost of this white elephant, transporting a few hundred people on expenses, we could reconnect almost everywhere in the UK, improving the economy both locally and nationally; increasing employment, helping communities stay in contact, helping people get to jobs that are unreachable at present and thereby increasing the tax take. By building this monstrosity of a vanity project the majority of the population will be completely untouched. SCRAP IT NOW!!!

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