A brand new set of “improved” compensation measures have been announced by the government in hope of helping hundreds across the district set to be blighted by HS2.
From today, anyone living within 60 metres of the proposed line can apply for a new express purchase scheme under which the government will consider buying properties at their full, ublighted market value.
Anyone within this safeguarded zone who is eligible for the sale will also be entitled to a 10 percent bonus up to £47,000, reasonable moving expenses and no stamp duty in an attempt to make it easier for properties to be sold.
And a new rent-back option means anyone wanting to sell their homes under the compensation schemes can carry on living where they are until they are able to do so.
And the current exceptional hardship scheme will remain in place for now to help those with an urgent need to sell who are unable to do so because of the HS2 proposals.
So far, the government has bought 114 properties under the EHS at a cost of around £67m, despite the scheme being criticised for not taking up offers from enough people living close to the route between London and Birmingham.
A government statement read that the “improved” compensation package was compiled after feedback and consultation with homeowners and that it had been “thoroughly examined and revised” on the initial package.
It also described the measures as representing “the best possible balance” for everyone involved.
After a second consultation at the end of this year, the Department for Transport also intends to launch a voluntary purchase scheme for people living in rural areas and between 60 and 120 metres from the line.
Under the proposals, the government may buy up houses for their full, unblighted market value should owners wish to move.
And for those unwilling to sell up, a cash payment of 10 percent of the house value - up to a total of £100,000 - may be available.
Following the further consultation, the government also intends to introduce a need to sell scheme which will consider up any buying houses at full, unblighted market value if owners have a compelling need to move - such as job relocation or ill health - but are unable to do so because of the planned railway.
There would be no distance boundary and the plan should be in place by the end of 2014 to replace the exceptional hardship scheme.
A homeowner payment is also being considered which would entitle anyone living between 120 and 300 metres from the line in rural areas to a payout of between £7,500 and £22,500 once Parliamentary approval for the high speed route to Birmingham is given.
Speaking about the new measures announced today, 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.”
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