Future still uncertain despite HS2 ‘blight notices’

Blighted homeowners in the path of HS2 can now call for a government buyout under statutory powers.

But the future is still far from certain for around 40 families who qualify to serve the government with a notice requesting sale of their home.

Anyone living in the safeguarding zone, which extends 60 metres from the proposed line can serve a blight notice in hope of receiving open market value plus 10 percent up to £47,000 and moving costs.

Around 40 properties in Burton Green, Crackley and Dalehouse Lane may be eligible if homeowners can meet requirements including to prove they are unable to sell.

But with uncertainty over how long a house must be on the market, what constitutes an unacceptable offer and who will meet costly agent fees to prove the point, many residents feel no further forward.

Richard Kenyon, whose garden on Dalehouse Lane falls into the 60 metre zone, said the government has left homeowners in the dark.

“We do not know where we are with this other than the fact we are eligible to serve this notice, which may or may not be agreed,” he said.

“It is residents who have to jump through hoops to meet requirements here, and the government is not obliged to buy up homes which do not meet the demands.”

But transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin has assured that his “full commitment” to safeguarding the tracks, includes to properly compensate all those affected.

“I understand the distress of those who live along the line of route and can assure people that we will process claims to purchase their property swiftly so that those who qualify can move as quickly as possible,” he said.

The statutory scheme is separate to HS2 Ltd’s proposed compensation measures which the High Court ruled to be ‘unlawful’ by the means they were consulted on earlier this year.

A new consultation will be held before a compensation package is announced to run alongside the blight measures.