Like it or loath it, High Speed 2 (“HS2”) is becoming a reality and the impact on our region of the largest transport infrastructure scheme for a generation will be profound.
Construction of the line is due to start in 2017 and be completed by 2025. The first train services will run between London and Birmingham from 2026.
HS2 was given the go-ahead in January 2012 and will link 8 of Britain’s 10 largest cities, serving 1 in 5 of the UK population.
In Phase One of the project, HS2 will link Birmingham to London. Phase 2a will then expand to the West Midlands with Phase 2b comprising an eastern leg to Leeds and a western leg to Manchester.
HS2 will have major consequences for property owners and occupiers. Land may be permanently blighted by its proximity to HS2 and many properties may be disadvantaged by the HS2 construction works and the resultant noise pollution. If you would like to check whether you will be affected by HS2, the government has provided an interactive map of the prospective train route.
Construction of the line is due to start in 2017 and be completed by 2033. The first train services will run between London and Birmingham from 2025.
Can I Claim Compensation?
The government has now introduced details of the statutory compensation schemes for property owner-occupiers affected by Phase 1 and Phase 2 of HS2.
The type of compensation available under the schemes depends on the location of the property and the Phase of HS2 that affects the applicant.
The schemes open to properties on the HS2 route include:
- The express purchase scheme
- The voluntary purchase scheme
- The need to sell scheme
- The alternative cash offer
- Home Owner Payment Scheme
The Express Purchase Scheme
This scheme is available now for all Phases of the HS2 route and will accept notices from eligible owner-occupiers of residential, agricultural or (in certain circumstances) commercial property in the “safeguarding zone”. The notice will request that the Government purchase the property for its full un-blighted value as if the HS2 project did not exist.
In addition, they will be entitled to a top-up “home loss payment” equal to 10% of the open market value of the property (up to a maximum of £58,000). Applicants will also be entitled to be compensated for reasonable moving costs, surveyors’ fees, legal fees and removal costs.
Where a blight notice is accepted and the Government makes an offer to buy, the owner-occupier will have three years with which to accept it.
The Voluntary Purchase Scheme
This scheme is currently only available to properties on the Phase 1 and Phase 2a route. It applies to eligible owner-occupiers in areas whose properties are outside the ‘surface safeguarded area’, but up to 120 metres from the proposed route of the line. Those affected will be able to ask the Government to buy their property at its full un-blighted open market value.
The Need to Sell Scheme
This scheme is available now for all Phases of the HS2 Route. It is intended to assist those with properties outside the surface safeguarded area but who nonetheless have a compelling reason for needing to sell (but who cannot do so on the open market due to the HS2 project).
Applicants need to show they cannot sell because of the HS2 project and will need to apply to have their individual circumstances considered by an independent panel. Successful applicants will have their property purchased for the un-blighted open market value.
The Alternative Cash Offer
This scheme is currently only available to properties on the Phase 1 and Phase 2a route. As an alternative to the voluntary purchase scheme, this scheme is aimed at owner-occupiers who would qualify for the Voluntary Purchase scheme (i.e. who live within 120 metres of the proposed route of the line), but who prefer to stay in their homes despite their proximity to the line. Applicants can apply to receive a lump sum cash payment equal to 10% of the un-blighted market value of their properties (being a minimum of £30,000 and a maximum of £100,000).
Home Owner Payment Scheme
This proposal is for eligible owner-occupiers whose properties are located between 120 and 300 metres from the HS2 line. Applicants may apply for compensation which varies depending on the proximity of the property to the line: 120 to 180 metres from the line: £22,500 180 to 240 metres from the line: £15,000 240 to 300 metres from the line: £7,500. This scheme is not yet available but will start when the powers to construct the railway are authorised by Parliament.
The Government are currently consulting on further compensation schemes for Phase 2b and we expect them to be similar to those for Phase 1 and Phase 2a.
Why do I need a solicitor?
The law relating to HS2 compensation is new and complex. There are many schemes available to owners of land affected by HS2, giving rise to several levels of compensation and that each have different qualifying criteria. Our specialist team of solicitors and surveyor contacts will be vital in determining which schemes are available to you and the level of compensation you should be entitled to receive.
Solicitors will also be involved in serving blight notices, making applications under the schemes, making any necessary appeals to compensation decisions and acting on the sale of your property.
Many applicants will be entitled to have these costs reimbursed by the government.
Myerson has a team of specialist contentious and non-contentious solicitors who have a wealth of knowledge of dealing with these types of matters.
If you think you may be affected by HS2, contact us now for more details on which schemes you may be eligible for and how to apply.