NEAHS2 RESPONSE TO THE COMPENSATION PROPOSALS:
NEAHS2 response to the Compensation Consultation may be found here:
NEAHS2 FIRST AND FOREMOST OPPOSES HS2 BOTH NATIONALLY AND LOCALLY AND WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO. THE COMPENSATION SCHEME MAKES NO DIFFERENCE.
NEAHS2's primary concern is for the LOCAL AREA of North Ealing, and WE WILL CAMPAIGN AND FIGHT AT ALL COSTS to maintain the peaceful, leafy, residential character of this area of North West London.
While NEAHS2 supports far improved compensation for affected residents, businesses and community organisations it does not support the voluntary purhase scheme as proposed. At the time of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link British Rail offered to buy 700 houses that were up to 100m either side of the line, bought them, boarded them up and sold them many years later, creating ghost towns in the intervening period. The BR compensation decision was bad news for local residents and was repeated at Simpson, near Heathrow in 2009/ 2010 when BAA acquired 350 properties within a perimeter of the village. The government interdepartmental report into Blight has said that this practice in fact caused more blight by effectively creating ghost towns.
Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, unveils HS2 compensation package:
Essentially within the M25, those living within 60m of the proposed HS2 route (the 'safeguarded zone') on the north side of the line will be eligible to have their homes purchased by the government at fair value plus 10% (up to £47,000) for the hassle of moving.
HS2 Ltd maps illustrating the demarcation of the safeguarded zone are available here (it may be necessary to download additional software to view these maps):
The relevant maps covering North Ealing are:
In the countryside the safeguarded zone (known there as the 'voluntary purchase zone') will extend to 120m. NEAHS2 has written to the Secretary of State for Transport submitting that it is invidious and discriminatory that urban areas within the M25 where a greater number of people live and the population is greater than in the countryside should be treated less favourably than rural areas outside of the M25.
This is the compensation proposal being consulted upon and the consultation is open until 13 January 2013. Information on how to respond to the consultation is available here:
It is important to stress that the compensation proposal is not generous or particularly good for those affected. In the case of HS1 the safeguarded zone/ voluntary purchase zone extended up to 240m from the line and Freedom of Information requests reveal that a safeguarded zone of 100m was planned as early as 2009 when the HS2 route had not even been shorlisted.
EXCEPTIONAL HARDSHIP SCHEME
For those who live on the south side of the HS2 line in North Ealing or further than 60m away on the north side the Exceptional Hardship Scheme remains.
NEAHS2 is greatly sceptical of the 'Exceptional Hardship Scheme' ('EHS') compensation scheme. Misleadingly the EHS does not provide compensation because HS2 will bring exceptional hardship - rather it provides compensation in exceptional circumstances and there are many hurdles to jump over in order to qualify. Shockingly and disgracefully many are unrelated to HS2 itself.
NEAHS2 argues that both the EHS and the new voluntary compensation proposals are wholly inadequate and disdainful to the local area and to local residents who would be adversely affected by HS2.
NEAHS2 supports a compensation scheme open to any affected individuals and organisations without a specific geographical demarcation.
However, NEAHS2 first and foremost opposes and challenges HS2 altogether, both nationally and locally AND WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO.
In outline, under the EHS homeowners near the HS2 route are only able to apply for compensation under the Exceptional Hardship Scheme - payment will also only be made one year after HS2 has been operational (i.e. about 2027) - if:
Change in employment location
Extreme financial pressure
Accommodation of an enlarged family
Need to move into sheltered accommodation (or equivalent) or
have had no prior knowledge of the HS2 before acquiring the property,
be ‘on or in close vicinity’ to the ‘preferred route’ (excludes those sections of the proposed HS2 route to be tunnelled under where there is no compensation available)
have tried to sell – been on the market for at least 3 months and had no offers within 15% of your property's full market value (to demonstrate this you will need evidence of what the property was worth before HS2 - i.e. a surveyor valuation at your own expense)
Can demonstrate that the inability to sell is due to HS2, and not for example a slow market (again this may be difficult to prove)