On 25th October the government released a consultation on their proposals for compensation for residents affected by the scheme. The government believes their proposals go beyond current statutory requirements.
The proposals in the consultation document provide for: -
- A commitment to buy eligible properties in the “Safe-Guarded Area” closest to the route. The full un-blighted value will be paid, along with the statutory loss payment of up to £47,000;
- A “Voluntary Purchase Zone” immediately outside of the safeguarded area in rural areas for eligible owners;
- A longer term hardship scheme to help those with a need to move but are unable to sell their home;
- A sale and rent back scheme for home-owners who wish to stay in properties that will be required for construction work, until the property is required;
- A package of measures to inspire confidence for those properties above tunnels.
The consultation is open until 31 January 2013.
The “Safe-Guarded Area” is a corridor approximately 60m either side of the proposed railway route. The government is currently consulting with local authorities along the proposed route on safeguarding the route corridor. Once the consultation completes, the route corridor will be protected from development that conflicts with the railway project.
The ‘Voluntary Purchase Zone’ is an additional corridor – up to 120m wide – beyond the safe-guarded area. The VPZ will run from the M25 northwards as far as south of the junction to Birmingham, before continuing north of the junction with West Coast Main Line.
Under the current proposals the ability to require the government to buy a property will be restricted. In this respect only owner-occupiers of residential property and owners of commercial property (with a rateable value of less than £34,800) will benefit. Any eligible property that is entirely within the safe-guarded area will be purchased – whether or not it is needed. If only part of a property is in the zone, consideration will be given to its purchase.
The proposals may be subject to change after the consultation. Therefore they cannot be taken as definitive. Until the measures are implemented, the current statutory regime will continue to apply.
A copy of the consultation document can be found here.
Copies of the route plans and proposed safeguarding zones can be found here.