New HS2 compensation announced

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Compensation of up to £100,000 will be available - even if residents decide not to move

Details have emerged of compensation packages for homeowners and businesses near the HS2 high-speed rail link - even if they do not want to move.

Under the proposals the state would buy properties within 60 metres of the line at the full market value plus 10%.

Those up to 120 metres away, who do not want to move, would be eligible for a payment of 10% of the home's value.

The changes to compensation packages are still to be consulted on but are expected to come in from 2015.

Ministers are also considering relaxing the rules on buying up homes of those living more than 300 metres from the London to Birmingham route.

Homeowners and small businesses must currently prove they would suffer from "exceptional hardship" from the building of the line. It is proposed this should be replaced by a "compelling reason" to sell.

Sliding scale

For homes and small businesses up to 60 metres of the line the state would buy up properties at the full unblighted market value, plus 10% (up to £47,000).

For those within 60 and 120 metres of the line who do not wish to sell the government would pay out cash compensation of 10% of the market value, up to a maximum of £100,000.

Those within 120 and 300 metres would be offered between £22,500 to £7,500 on a sliding scale, based on distance from the line. The payments are proposed to be tax free.

A rent-back option would also be available, so that people who want to sell their properties but carry on living where they are may be able to do so.

No limits have been set on how far away from HS2 applicable properties will have to be.

Further views

Senior HS2 officials say this is because the local environment can vary widely.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said there would be a consultation on the plans.

He 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 plans."

It was also announced that a Residents' Commissioner would be appointed to hold HS2 Ltd to account.

They will also ensure the company meets standards set out in a Residents' Charter.

Opposition group HS2 Action Alliance (HS2AA) said nearly 240,000 homes within one kilometre of the proposed line are likely to suffer losses and that "almost all are ineligible for compensation under the current policy".

Director Hilary Wharf said. "Today's announcement means people may well go to their graves having been locked into homes made unsaleable by HS2.

"That the Department for Transport still proposes to consult on an extreme-needs-based, long-term scheme shuts out most people from getting property compensation for the loss of property value they have been suffering since March 2010 is an act of inhumanity."

But HS2 chairman Sir David Higgins said: "The new Charter and Commissioner will provide residents with the confidence that we'll deal with each case clearly, fairly and as fast as we can."