A lawyer whose family’s Offchurch farm is set to be destroyed by HS2 is now leading a team fighting to get the company to pay a fair price for buying private homes and land.
Sarah Beer will head up a nine-strong team of property lawyers from Leamington firm Wright Hassall as HS2 Ltd prepares to acquire huge amounts of land along the planned route.
Sarah said: “There has been criticism in the media about how HS2 is handling some compulsory purchases and the money that is being made available to do this.
“There have been a number of cases where payments have been delayed and there is a feeling that HS2 is pushing the limits as to what is acceptable for the people whose lives are being affected.
“Issues have also surfaced surrounding HS2’s valuation and that of the affected person or business.
“Quite often, people feel that they have to go it alone and not seek professional advice over what they can do.
“That isn’t the case and people shouldn’t feel bullied or pressured into accepting something which isn’t what they deserve.
“The number of enquiries we are getting is increasing but we want more people to be aware of the assistance we can offer.”
HS2 Ltd is currently overseeing what is the largest land acquisition project since the Second World War, involving thousands of homes and properties along the high speed rail route set to link London, Birmingham, the East Midlands, Leeds and Manchester.
A spokesman for HS2 said: “Every home, business and piece of land is unique and we appreciate that there may often be different opinions between owners, their professional advisors and HS2, about the value of a property. We work with the people affected to reach agreement, recognising the differences in opinion can take time to resolve.
“We appreciate that the compulsory purchase of any property ahead of HS2’s construction is disruptive and can be distressing. We encourage claimants under compulsory purchase to engage with experienced advisors to help them in this process, with HS2 generally covering these costs.
“We remain committed to supporting local communities who are fundamental to the delivery of HS2, which is already supporting thousands of new jobs across the country and will provide vital new rail capacity for the Midlands and the UK.”