HS2 Route to Midlands, Leeds and Manchester

Tuesday 15 November 2016

Last week the government set out its plans for phase two of the HS2 scheme, boasting the economic impact the construction is due to have on the surrounding areas. Although claiming to create a wealth of jobs from the initial build to the overall maintenance, the future for residents who are directly affected, remains unclear.

With housing markets in some areas already being affected by the construction of the line, many residents are concerned with the threat of relocating for long periods of time, or ultimately, having to sell their homes.

Two key property purchase schemes have already been launched in parallel with the consultation and are now open for applications - Express Purchase (for homes inside of the surface safeguarding area) and the Need to Sell scheme (for owners who have a compelling reason to sell their property).

There is also a Rent Back scheme where the government may agree to purchase a property which residents are then able to rent back after the sale in order to continue living there.

Eligibility restrictions do however apply for all schemes. Express Purchase only applies to homes which have 25% of the property inside the marked ‘surface safeguarding’ area. Need to sell is only available to those with a ‘compelling reason’ to sell but who can’t due to a direct result of the HS2 route announcement. To qualify for Rent Back, the property must first be assessed to determine its suitability for letting and be deemed value-for-money before it can be considered for sale and rent back.

Mark Hayward, Managing Director of the National Association of Estate Agents, comments on the announcement of the route for Phase 2 of HS2, “We welcome the news that the Government will pay compensation to homeowners impacted by the construction of Phase 2 of HS2, however we remain concerned about the prospect of demolishing a brand new housing estate in Mexborough, South Yorkshire. Considerable amounts of money and time has gone into the construction of that estate and it suggests that the Government’s approach to infrastructure construction is dis-jointed.

“People who bought those properties did so under the impression that they would be able to live there for years, bringing up families and creating homes. We call on the Government to fundamentally rethink its plans to ensure that the properties in Mexborough are saved and by doing so preserving homes for years to come.”

Outlining its preferred route for phase two, the announcement highlights concerns and raises questions surrounding the issues homeowners may face. Whilst recognising the impact and having consideration for all those affected, the Department of Transport are having to offer millions in compensation to help fund those directly affected.

Transport secretary, Chris Grayling, said he “felt desperately sorry” for those residents affected, whom he said would be “treated with fairness, compassion and respect”.

For more information, please view the full decision document.