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UPDATED: Hundreds of Vale homeowners in line for thousands of pounds in HS2 compensation

Artist's impression of the controversial trainline

Artist's impression of the controversial trainline

 

Homeowners living up to 300 metres (328 yards) from the HS2 line will be able to claim thousands of pounds in compensation from the government.

Plans put forward by the government include a ‘homeowner payment’ scheme to be introduced for those living between 120m-300m of the track.

These payments would range from £7,500 to £22,500, depending on how close the route runs to the property.

Hundreds of Vale homes, including in Walton Court, Stoke Mandeville and Wendover could qualify for the money, which the government says has never before been offered for a train line.

In addition, the Express Purchase scheme which allows people to sell homes located very close to the line, has been launched today.

Homes less than 60m from the line can be sold to the government at unblighted market value plus 10% (up to £47,000) and including moving costs.

A Rent-Back Option is also available to allow families who want to sell their homes but stay put for now.

Further schemes have been proposed but will not be confirmed until later this year.

These include a ‘voluntary purchase’ scheme to allow homeowners within 120m of the track to apply to sell their house, for the same price as the ‘express purchase’.

A ‘cash payment’ scheme has also been recommended as an alternative in which families living within 120m can receive 10% of the value of their home (up to £100,000) as compensation.

A residents’ commissioner, who will begin work in September, will be appointed to provide a ‘friendly face’ and a ‘voice for those affected’.

The commissioner will also oversee the introduction of a residents’ charter to offer guidance and support for affected families.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “I completely understand the concerns and anxieties of those living near the line and it is only right that those people are properly looked after.

“I believe this package of compensation and assistance will enable us to help people more.

“But I want to get it absolutely right, so I am asking for further views on some aspects before we finalise the plans.

“HS2 will transform many people’s lives for the better, but where its impacts are less positive we will do all we can to provide the right help and assistance.”

But chairman of 51m - the alliance against HS2 - and leader of Bucks County Council Martin Tett has dismissed the proposals as a ‘callous disregard for those who stand to lose out most’.

He said: “The devil is in the detail. We will have to examine the small print of the announcement but it looks as if large numbers of residents and businesses along the line of HS2 will still not be entitled to compensation.

“It is particularly disappointing that the property bond, the option preferred by the residents affected, has been dismissed.

“Worryingly, if the revised compensation package is to be funded from the existing budget, this implies that less money will be available for essential mitigation such as extra tunnelling, reduced spoil tipping, and more noise reduction.”

 

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