28 October 2013

Householders in the south of the county have just a few weeks left to respond to a consultation about the compensation they could receive as a result of the building of the HS2 high speed rail link.

Last month, the Government re-launched its consultation on this proposed compensation scheme, which would be available to those living within and also outside what is known as the Safeguarded Area.

It is recognised that the construction and operation of major projects, or the planned acquisition of land, can have a negative effect on nearby properties, commonly known as ‘blight’.

What is planning blight?

Since the initial publication of a proposed route between London and the West Midlands the value of properties near the route has fallen considerably, owing to concerns about the impact that HS2, once completed, will have on them.

For the local community, the ongoing uncertainty and associated stagnation of the property market was their key concern, and as such the county council’s previous formal response to the consultation in January 2013 supported a property bond to restore confidence to the property market as early as possible.

The aim of the property bond is to ensure that eligible property owners do not suffer unreasonable losses because of any reductions in the market value of their properties, caused by the direct impact of the proposed development.

Cllr Michael Clarke, Northamptonshire County Council cabinet member for highways, transport and environment said: “It is extremely positive the government has listened to the concerns of local people and a property bond is being consulted on as part of the re-consultation on property compensation proposals.

“It is vital for the local communities living in the close vicinity of the proposed scheme that the best property compensation package is secured, particularly the property bond which will help to stimulate and give more certainty to the housing market.

“I would strongly urge everyone who is affected by the proposed scheme to respond to the consultation to make their views known.”

Why is the consultation taking place?

The consultation, which was launched on September 12 and will close on December 4, is being undertaken following a challenge in the High Court where the Government agreed to consult again on property compensation matters, including the property bond.

The county council worked with local MP Andrea Leadsom as well as South Northamptonshire Action Group (SNAG) and High Speed 2 Action Alliance to convey the views of householders in the affected areas.

The proposals for discretionary compensation available to property owners will be determined by the distance from the railway and essentially fall into three distinct areas; the Safeguarded Area (generally speaking 60m either side of the line of route), the Rural Support Zone (RSZ) (distance yet to be determined but possibly 120m either side of the route exclusive of the Safeguarded Zone) and beyond the Rural Support Zone.

The property compensation consultation will be discussed at Cabinet on Tuesday, November 12.