Farmers hit by HS2 project get planning boost
Red tape set to be addressed by policy
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