Some of us have been campaigning for some time now that our area should be treated the same as rural areas when it comes to compensation for HS2 – if it goes ahead. As you may recall, the previous proposals treated our area as ‘urban’ and not eligible for certain parts of the package. The effect was that no compensation was available for residents in Ickenham and Harefield. That was unacceptable. As I argued in my public response to the consultation, and in meetings with Ministers:
‘Similar properties in similar landscapes face being treated in different ways because of an arbitrary judgement that is not supported by any evidence, there should be no distinction between urban and rural.’
We won the argument. This matters because it means that a number of local properties, principally in the Greenway and Hoylake Crescent, will now be eligible for some compensation.
What is new ?
1. Owner occupiers of properties within 60 and 120 metres of the line will be able to sell their houses at pre HS2 market value. They will also be able to rent back the property if they so wish. Alternatively they can choose a cash payment of between £30 – 100k.
2. Owner occupiers of properties between 120m and 300m from the proposed line will also be eligible for payments which are proposed to be tax free. There will be a sliding scale offered between £22,500 and £7,500 based on proximity to the line.
3. The old Exceptional Hardship scheme is being replaced by a new Need to Sell scheme, which is proposed to have more relaxed criteria than previous scheme. Homeowners must currently prove they would suffer from ‘exceptional hardship’ from the building of the line however the new proposed scheme will relax the current rules, requiring only a ‘compelling reason’ to sell but are unable to do so because of HS2.
The HS2 Property Consultation 2014 seeking views on these changes was launched on Tuesday 8th July and runs until 23.45 on Tuesday 30 September. The consultation document and maps (see London part d) are available online at:
It is important that as many people as possible respond with their views. I will also be working with local campaign groups to reflect the local view on these proposals.
I am pleased that some of the most directly affected homeowners in the area will now receive compensation. That principle is important because the old proposal was unfair. However I am well aware that for the broader Ickenham and Harefield communities, this does not change the cost of HS2 to the area. That is why I will continue to work with the Council, Resident Associations, and petitioners to argue for the mitigation measures I have set out before – including a tunnel extension and the preservation of HOAC.