Measures for people along the first phase of the route between London and Birmingham have been revised and some elements of the improved package will be available straightaway with others following llater this year.
An express purchase scheme is being launched immediately for owner-occupiers of properties closest to the line, in the area known as the ‘surface safeguarded area’, generally within 60m of the proposed line. Under this scheme, the government could buy properties at the full unblighted market value, plus 10% (up to £47,000) and reasonable moving expenses, including stamp duty. The scheme is designed to be quick, clear and as straightforward as possible to make it easier for owner-occupiers to sell their property to the government, if they wish to do so.
A ‘rent-back’ option will also be available immediately, which will mean that those people who want to sell their properties - under any of the schemes being announced – can do so while continuing to live there.
The exceptional hardship scheme will also continue to be available for those who have an urgent need to sell their home but are unable to do so because of HS2. The government has already bought 114 properties at a cost of around £67m from owner-occupiers living near the route. This is under the discretionary exceptional hardship scheme for people with a pressing need to sell.
Following the further short consultation, the government also intends to introduce a voluntary purchase scheme by the end of this year for owner occupiers in rural areas outside the safeguarded area and up to 120m away from the line. Eligible owner-occupiers would be able to apply to sell their property for its full unblighted market value.
Alternatively, if these owner-occupiers do not want to move, they can await the outcome of the further consultation to begin later this year on a cash payment of 10% of the value of their home (from a proposed minimum of £30,000 to a maximum of £100,000).
Following the further consultation, the government also intends to introduce a need-to-sell scheme and consider applications to buy properties at full unblighted market value from owner-occupiers who have a compelling need to sell but who are unable to do so because of plans to build HS2. This scheme does not have a boundary.
Beyond this compensation package the government will consult on a homeowner payment scheme which would entitle owner-occupiers to a cash payment if they live between 120m and 300m from the line in rural areas. This could enable people in these areas to share in the benefits of HS2 as it will run near them but would not provide them with a direct benefit.
The payments could be from £7,500 to £22,500, depending on how close the route is to the property. This would come into effect following parliamentary approval of the HS2 route between London and the Midlands.