HARRIS LAMB ADVISES OWNER-OCCUPIERS ON PROPOSED HS2 COMPENSATION SCHEME

Harris Lamb has welcomed the news that compensation packages will be made available to businesses and homes located bear to the HS2 high-speed rail link, regardless of whether they want to move.

Nigel Fletcher, associate director of the business, said that since new proposals were revealed this month, the Harris Lamb team had been revisiting its client base to ensure that all owner-occupiers potentially affected by the HS2 dealing were fully versed in the developments.

“This latest development in the plans for the HS2 has a massive impact on those who live in and own premises close to the scheme and are within the necessary operations. Known as the ‘surface safeguarded area’, this land is generally within 60 metres of the line.

“Now that plans for the ‘Express Purchase Scheme’ have been announced, the state would buy properties at the full market value plus an additional 10 per cent (up to £47,000), while an additional ‘Voluntary Purchase Proposal’ allows owner-occupiers located in rural areas between 60 and 120 metres away from the centre of the line to ask the Government to buy their property for 100 per cent of its un-blighted market value.

“Even those who do not want to move would be eligible for a payment of 10 per cent of the home’s un-blighted value (from a proposed minimum of £30,000 to a maximum of £100,000),” added Nigel.

Those properties within 120 and 300 metres of the surface safeguarded area would be offered between £22,500 to £7,500 on a sliding scale, based on distance from the line, and it is anticipated that the payments will be tax free.

Ministers are also considering relaxing the rules on buying up homes of those living more than 300 metres from the London to Birmingham route, and Nigel said that all properties that anticipated some impact from the rail link should keep a keen eye on the developments in coming months, as they are yet to reach consultation phase, and aren’t expected to come into force until next year.

“At present, homeowners and small businesses must prove they would suffer from “exceptional hardship” from the building of the line, but it is now proposed this should be replaced by a “compelling reason” to sell.

“A rent-back option is proposed, so that people who want to sell their properties but carry on living where they are may be able to do so.

“As you’d expect, applicants will be asked to submit evidence to support their claim according to the type of property, location, the lengths that the owner has already gone to in a bid to sell the property, and how long they have owned it – obviously those who have bought their home since March 11th 2010 when the initial route of phase one was announced will have had prior knowledge and are unlikely to successfully pursue a claim,” added Nigel.

“This is good clarification for those affected by the plans, and can help us work with clients to ascertain the grounds that they may have for compensation, keep them fully informed on the changes and help them present their applications,” he said.

For more information, contact Harris Lamb on 0121 455 9455.