The NFU has said that a full and fair compensation package for HS2 is still needed for agricultural owner occupiers, following the company’s announcement on how it plans to recompense homeowners affected by Phase One of the rail line.
NFU rural surveyor Louise Staples said: “Although this is welcome news, and the fact that one of the schemes will apply to a geographical area further away from the proposed line, there is no doubt that it will be of more benefit to residential owners rather than farmers.
“However, we must stress that the compulsory purchase code is still not fit for purpose. It is very difficult under the current code for agricultural owner occupiers to be compensated fully for the land farmers will lose to the scheme and for the disturbance that is caused during construction.
“HS2 must still be aware of practical farming issues so that farms are still viable once the scheme is completed. The Select Committee still needs to take steps to change certain parts of the Bill so that there is a better chance of achieving 'full and fair' compensation being paid.”
The two new compensation schemes are summarised below:
The Cash offer
This is available again to anyone living between 60m and 120m from the line and instead of selling their property it will possible to remain in their house and receive 10% of that value. The minimum payment will be £30,000 and is capped at £100,000. This will be available until one year after Phase One first opens after construction has been completed. To be eligible you will have to be an owner occupier of a residential property, agricultural holding or a commercial property with a rateable value that does not exceed £34,800. Further a leaseholder with an unexpired term of three years will usually qualify as an owner occupier.
Homeowner Payment Scheme
This will apply to owner occupiers outside the voluntary purchase area but within 300 metres of the line and will be a fixed lump sum. The payments will be tapered as follows
· Between 120m and 180m from the route: £22,500
· Between 180m and 240mfrom the route: £15,000
· Between 240m and 300m from the route: £7,500
This will be payable when the HS2 Bill receives Royal Assent.
More guidance on the new compensation schemes can be found here.