More homes in line for HS2 compensation

Artist's impression of the controversial trainline
Artist's impression of the controversial trainline

Homeowners living up to 300 metres (328 yards) from the HS2 line will be able to claim thousands of pounds in compensation from the government under unique proposals.

Plans put forward by the government include a ‘homeowner payment’ scheme to be introduced for those living between 120m-300m of the track.

These payments would range from £7,500 to £22,500, depending on how close the route runs to the property.

Hundreds of Vale and south Northants homes, including some in Twyford could qualify for the money, which the government says has never before been offered for a train line.

In addition, the Express Purchase scheme which allows people to sell homes located very close to the line, has been launched today, Wednesday.

Homes less than 60m from the line can be sold to the government at unblighted market value plus 10 per cent (up to £47,000) and including moving costs.

A Rent-Back Option is also available to allow families who want to sell their homes but stay put for now.

Further schemes have been proposed but will not be confirmed until later this year.

These include a ‘voluntary purchase’ scheme to allow homeowners within 120m of the track to apply to sell their house, for the same price as the ‘express purchase’.

A ‘cash payment’ scheme has also been recommended as an alternative in which families living within 120m can receive 10 per cent of the value of their home (up to £100,000) as compensation.

A residents’ commissioner, who will begin work in September, will be appointed to provide a ‘friendly face’ and a ‘voice for those affected’.

The commissioner will also oversee the introduction of a residents’ charter to offer guidance and support for affected families.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “I completely understand the concerns and anxieties of those living near the line and it is only right that those people are properly looked after.

“I believe this package of compensation and assistance will enable us to help people more.

“But I want to get it absolutely right, so I am asking for further views on some aspects before we finalise the plans.

“HS2 will transform many people’s lives for the better, but where its impacts are less positive we will do all we can to provide the right help and assistance.”

But Joe Rukin, campaign manager at Stop HS2, said the announcement was an attempt to ‘bury bad news’ as it was released on the same day the HS2 Environmental Statement consultation analysis showed that more people left the form blank than supported HS2.