299 of the 455 applications made by homeowners living in the shadow of HS2’s first stage have been rejected, according to reports today.
Properties outside of the 60 metre “Safeguarding” zone on either side of the tracks aren’t automatically covered by the government’s offer of full market value plus 10%, and instead have to apply to HS2 Ltd. for compensation. According to the Telegraph today, however, only 81 such applications along the Euston to Birmingham stage have so far been successful.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Hilary Wharf of HS2 Action Alliance said: “The rules of the exceptional hardship scheme are being drawn far too tightly.
“This is a compensation scheme that the evidence shows is simply not fit for purpose; it offers compensation to virtually nobody and this is despite the hundreds of thousands homes blighted, many rendered unsellable, with only a tiny fraction of people qualifying for the scheme.
“HS2 is causing enormous stress and worry as it destroys the value of people’s homes and wrecks the plans that they have made for themselves. Government talk of generosity is a cynical misrepresentation of the reality that they don’t care.”
Simon Burns, Minister of State at the Department for Transport told the paper: “The scheme’s criteria is clear, but we are applying this in a flexible and compassionate way. However, the EHS is not designed to address the needs of property owners who are not facing exceptional hardship and it is not designed to support the normal operation of local property markets.”