HS2’s latest compensation consultation – My response
At the end of September, HS2 concluded their latest consultation on compensation – if the project should go ahead. I responded on behalf of constituents and my full response can be read here
I recognize that the current proposal represents an improvement for some of my constituents. Specifically, the Government has accepted our argument that my constituency should in effect be treated the same as rural areas, meaning that my constituents will have access to both proposals which the Government is consulting on. I welcome that.
However the current proposals still fall far short of the “full and fair compensation to those most directly affected” which was promised by the Government.
- There is insufficient compensation for construction blight and loss of amenity
- The “Alternative Cash offer” for owner occupiers living between 60 – 100m of line is not a sufficiently strong incentive for people to stay in properties that are blighted. The offer needs to be raised and the so called Voluntary Purchase Zone should be extended as the current boundaries are arbitrary and divisive.
- The “Homeowner payment” for those living between 120 and 300 m of line is inadequate and again the zone should be extended, not least in the light of evidence from two independent reports that blight should be anticipated up to 500 m from line.
- The core principle should be that no one should suffer financial loss or be trapped in their home because of HS2. The Need to Sell Scheme should not be means tested and the criteria should be relaxed so that all homeowners should be free to move home, downsize or remortgage without incurring a financial penalty that is clearly the result of HS2.
Please be assured that I will be taking these arguments directly to Ministers.
Finally, I am well aware that for many residents, no offer will ever compensate for the disruption or loss. That is why my priority continues to be to win the argument for an extension of the proposed tunnel in order to protect the area. I will of course keep you updated on that campaign, which is a joint effort with Hillingdon Council; Resident Associations and many individual residents who have submitted petitions.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance