HS2 in Hansard 19/01/2015

The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr Patrick
McLoughlin): I am today announcing to the House the
Government’s package of measures to provide assistance
to owner occupiers along the line of route for Phase
One of the High Speed 2 project (from London to the
West Midlands). This is the final outcome of two
consultations;
the Property Consultation 2013, on which the decision was
announced on 9 April 2014; and
the Property Consultation 2014, which ran from 8 July to
30 September 2014 and on which the decision is announced
property-consultation-2014).
I can announce today that the proposal for the alternative
cash offer (now named the cash offer) and homeowner
payment will be introduced. These schemes aim to help
maintain the cohesion of communities along the route
of Phase One of HS2 and provide an early share of the
benefits.
41WS Written Statements 16 JANUARY 2015 Written Statements 42WS
I can also announce that from today HS2 Ltd will
accept applications for voluntary purchase, the cash
offer and the need to sell schemes. These schemes
supplement those launched earlier this year, namely
express purchase and rent back. The result is an exceptional
package of measures for an exceptional project. Over
2500 dwellings are within the express purchase area,
rural support zone (within which the voluntary purchase
and cash offer schemes are available) and homeowner
payment bands. In addition, the need to sell scheme will
independently consider applications regardless of the
distance from the railway.
Therefore, the full package available to people is as
follows:
Express purchase—is for those people living closest to the
line, in what is known as the “surface safeguarded” area.
Under this scheme owner-occupiers may be able to sell their
home to the Government, if they wish to do so at its full
unblighted market value (as it would be if there were no
plans for HS2), plus 10% (up to £49,000) and reasonable
moving expenses, including stamp duty.
Voluntary purchase— for people in rural areas outside the
safeguarding area and up to 120 metres away from the line
(this is the area defined as the rural support zone). Owneroccupiers
in this area will be able to sell their home to the
Government for its full unblighted value at any time up until
one year after Phase One first opens for public use.
The cash offer— (known as the alternative cash offer during
the consultation). This gives rural owner-occupiers within
the rural support zone two measures to choose from, if they
wish: selling their property to the Government for its full
unblighted market value under the voluntary purchase
arrangements described above or remaining in their home
and receiving 10% of that value. This payment is a minimum
of £30,000 and is capped at £100,000. This scheme will be
available until one year after Phase One first opens for public
use.
The need to sell scheme—this scheme does not have a boundary
and is available to owner-occupiers who have a compelling
reason to sell their house (for example this might be as a
result of job relocation or ill health) but are unable to do so
because of HS2. The Government will pay the full, unblighted
value for these properties. This scheme replaces the Phase
One exceptional hardship scheme (EHS) and those EHS
applications that have not been consider by the panel will
automatically be transferred to the need to sell scheme. This
scheme is available in both urban and rural areas.
The homeowner payment scheme—will give ruralhomeowners
outside the voluntary purchase area but within 300 metres of
the line the opportunity to share early in the benefits of HS2.
These payments will be available following Royal Assent of
the hybrid Bill for Phase One and will be tapered as follows:
owner-occupiers between outside the rural support zone and
within 180 metres of the centre line of the railway will
receive £22,500, those beyond this and within 240 metres
£15,000 and those beyond this and within 300 metres £7,500.
The express purchase, voluntary purchase and need
to sell schemes are all accompanied by a voluntary rent
back option: owner-occupiers who, having sold their
property to government would prefer to carry on living
there may be able to rent it back, subject to property
suitability checks.
In addition, as part of the desire by HS2 Ltd to
improve communication with residents and communities
near to the route of the railway, it has been agreed that a
residents’ charter will be introduced. This will help to
ensure that residents are treated in a fair, clear, competent
and reasonable manner. It will embrace a number of
key principles:
Discretionary property packages will be communicated clearly,
in the plainest, non-technical language possible.
Individuals will be offered a single named case officer.
Individuals will be offered the opportunity to meet in private
with a property specialist from HS2 Ltd to explain the
discretionary and statutory measures.
HS2 Ltd will commit to a reasonable response time for all
property related enquiries.
Today I am pleased to announce that the charter goes
live and that Deborah Fazan has been appointed as the
Residents’ Commissioner to oversee the charter and
ensure the above principles are adhered to.
This package of measures will be administered by
HS2 Ltd under these guiding principles and will signal
the beginning of a new relationship with the communities
along the route of Phase One of HS2.
I will place copies of the related documents in the
Libraries of both Houses.
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