Farm­ers hit by HS2 project get plan­ning boost

Red tape set to be ad­dressed by pol­icy

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - By Jack Abell jack.abell@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

FARM­ERS af­fected by HS2 have been given a boost after their rec­om­men­da­tions about the rail line were put to the gov­ern­ment.

The chair­man of the HS2 se­lect com­mit­tee, which has been set up to hear the con­cerns of those who are im­pacted by the first phase of the project, has writ­ten to the gov­ern­ment ask­ing that a set of plan­ning guide­lines be agreed in or­der to deal with spe­cific build­ing prob­lems raised by the Na­tional Farm­ers Union, when it gave ev­i­dence at the House of Com­mons last month.

The is­sue is that the NFU be­lieves that farm­ers who are hav­ing their build­ings com­pul­so­rily pur­chased by HS2 could run into dif­fi­cul­ties with plan­ning au­thor­i­ties when try­ing to re­build re­place­ment farm houses and agri­cul­tural build­ings on a dif­fer­ent part of their land.

This has led to un­cer­tainty as to whether plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions will be ap­proved and there would be long de­lays if a case goes to ap­peal.

The NFU is con­cerned that farm busi­nesses will not be able to with­stand de­lays to re­plac­ing farm build­ings which might be needed to pro­vide live­stock hous­ing, grain and potato stor­age.

In a let­ter to Eric Pick­les, the sec­re­tary of state for com­mu­ni­ties and lo­cal gov­ern­ment, Robert Syms, chair­man of the se­lect com­mit­tee, said: “Ap­ply­ing a plan­ning pol­icy too rigidly ig­nores the spe­cial cir­cum­stances aris­ing from con­struc­tion of the rail­way.

“A pol­icy of pro­tect­ing green belt might sen­si­bly be ad­justed to al­low for in­di­vid­ual build­ings to be re­tained where they re­main use­ful and where the new build­ings have been es­sen­tially forced on those af­fected as a way to re­main in the area while re­duc­ing the im­pact of the rail­way.”

Pres­i­dent of the NFU Meurig Ray­mond said: “We are en­cour­aged by the chair­man’s let­ter to the sec­re­tary of state re­quest­ing plan­ing guide­lines.

“It would clearly be un­fair for farm­ers and their fam­i­lies who are los­ing their homes to HS2 to strug­gle with red tape when at­tempt­ing to re­build on their own land.”

It would clearly be un­fair for farm­ers...to strug­gle with red tape when at­tempt­ing to

re­build”

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