Wed 24 Jan 2024
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak scrapped the Birmingham to Manchester portion of the high speed rail line in October, citing costs and claiming funding will be diverted to other projects.
Last week, the Government said it will lift safeguarding directions along the former HS2 route between the west midlands and Crewe, meaning HS2 limited will no longer object to proposed development in the area.
Nathan Emerson, chief executive of Propertymark, said: “Propertymark welcomes the fact that HS2 Ltd will no longer object to any proposed developments in the area to which the safeguarding applies.
“This country desperately needs more homes, and these changes will now allow for more developments to take place. This also gives people living along the former HS2 route certainty. Propertymark also commends the UK Government’s commitment to begin selling properties acquired by HS2 Ltd that are no longer needed, alongside the commitment to keep the Need to Sell programme open.”
It comes as the Government also said it would consider compensation claims for homeowners forced to sell their homes to HS2 amid claims from MPs that people are being “intimidated” not to raise the issue.
Huw Merriman, transport minister, said: “ I readily acknowledge how important it is that those owed compensation, such as money for the purchase of their property or expenses or costs associated with such transactions, are paid in as timely a manner as is possible. I have always sought to impress on the company and its agents that it is unacceptable that cases should drag on. That is of no benefit to anyone—certainly not the property owner, and certainly not the taxpayer.
“When it comes to paying owners for title to properties that they have, in many cases, sold unwillingly, it is only right that those owners should receive recompense in full and as fast as is practicable. That said, each property transaction is unique, so presents its own set of circumstances."
He said HS2 Ltd must achieve a careful balance between meeting the needs of the claimant and delivering value for money to the taxpayer.
He added: “The compensation code requires claimants to provide robust evidence for their claims. It is often when claimants are struggling to provide sufficient suitable evidence for their claims that negotiations become frustrated, leading to delays.
“I will be frank: the extent to which claimants’ agents provide suitable evidence, or are willing to negotiate from a realistic standpoint, varies considerably—I have found myself in the middle of some discussions of that type in constituents’ homes.
“Property cases should be concluded as soon as is practicable, within the constraints imposed by the balance of the property owner’s interests and those of the taxpayer.”