Beds, Herts & Bucks

HS2 rail route house valued at £0 bought for £245,000

Old Post Office, Turweston
Image caption Elfrida Harper-Tarr's old home, the Old Post Office, is about 1,500ft (460m) from the proposed route

The government has bought a Buckinghamshire pensioner's house after it was valued at £0 because it was near the proposed HS2 rail route.

Elfrida Harper-Tarr had put her house in Turweston on the market for £275,000, but a potential buyer's mortgage lender said it was worthless.

The 98-year-old's family then applied to the government's compensation scheme and received £245,000 for it.

HS2 Ltd said it had bought nearly 100 properties close to the proposed route.

Ms Harper-Tarr's family said the government's payment, which will be used to fund care home fees, was "acceptable".

'Shocked and worried'

She moved into a £3,500-a-month care home in August last year after she had an accident at her house and needed full-time care.

Mike Harper-Tarr, her son, said: "The 35-page form is very complicated, but, in fairness, it went through and we ended up with a valuation that was acceptable.

"She was shocked and very worried when her house was valued as worthless and she remained worried until the government handed the cheque over.

"The same story is running through villages which are closely affected by HS2 and selling a house is sheer murder."

An HS2 Ltd spokesman said: "We do clearly recognise that we need to help people who are affected by the plans for the new network.

"Under our Exceptional Hardship Scheme, we have so far bought 94 properties at a cost of almost £55m from people who urgently need to sell their home.

"The government will soon be consulting on a wider package of compensation measures for people living along the London to West Midlands route who want to sell their property."

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