Compensation snub from HS2
Only two per cent of homeowners will get money
HOMEOWNERS blighted by HS2 in some areas of the borough are unlikely to get any compensation according to national campaign group HS2 Action Alliance (HS2AA).
HS2AA says a report by consultants PWC, obtained following a Freedom of Information Act request, estimates homes up to 120 metres from the line could lose 40 per cent of their value, homes 300 metres from the line will lose 30 per cent of their value and homes up to 500 metres from the line will lose 20 per cent of their value.
But HS2AA says the PWC report shows that of the 172,000 homes within one kilometre of the HS2 route for phase 1 – London to Birmingham – only 3,000, or less than two per cent, are eligible for compensation under the Government’s current schemes.
Richard Houghton of HS2AA said: “It seems that the government doesn’t want to provide full and fair compensation to the tens of thousands of homeowners who are blighted by plans for HS2.
“They either simply don’t care or don’t have the money to do the right thing.
“Either way, hard-working tax payers are left with homes worth 20 to 40 per cent less than they should be and in many cases unsellable.
“By ignoring our recommendations for a property bond scheme, they are hanging out tens of thousands of homeowners to dry – we certainly are not all in this together.”
Homeowners in Ickenham and Harefield were offered a revised compensation package under the new compensation schemes announced by the Department for Transport in April.
That is because those areas, beyond the tunnel portal at West Ruislip, are now considered ‘rural’ and as such are eligible for an express purchase scheme for owner-occupiers of homes within 60 metres of the line, a rent-back option and a revised voluntary purchase scheme for homes up to 120 metres from the line.
A homeowner payment scheme would entitle owner-occupiers to a cash payment if they live between 120 metres and 300 metres from the line.
The payments could be between £7,500 to £22,500, depending on how close the route is to the property, and would come into effect following Parliamentary approval of the route between London and the Midlands.
Those who do not want to sell their home will be offered a cash payment of 10 per cent of the value of their home from a proposed minimum of £30,000 to a maximum of £100,000.
People living above the HS2 tunnel through South Ruislip and Ruislip Gardens have not had any offer of compensation, as they are considered ‘urban’ and are not included within the ‘surface safeguarded area’ of up to 60metres of the line.
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin launched a consultation on the new compensation proposals on July 8.
HS2AA is calling on those blighted to make their voices heard before the consultation closes on Tuesday, September 30, and back a property bond scheme based on private sector best practice, which would be available to property owners who suffer a loss in property value due to HS2, regardless of area.
A Department for Transport spokesman said: “HS2 is an exceptional scheme that justifies exceptional support for people living near the line.
“We have announced compensation and assistance schemes that go well beyond legal requirements and offer an effective means of helping people with blight. This includes purchasing properties at their full, unblighted market value.
“We studied the idea of a property bond very carefully but felt that it was untried, would not facilitate the smooth operation of a normal property market and would add to uncertainty rather than reduce it.”
The spokesman said the figures in the PWC report are not predictions about blight, but illustrative assumptions for assessing the cost of different combinations of property compensation schemes.