I voted against HS2 Phase 1 in Parliament at Second and Third Reading, and continued to make the case against it in the last Parliament. Phase 2a (between Armitage and Crewe, thus directly affecting Stafford constituency) is scheduled to come to the House of Commons later in 2017. If I am re-elected, I will oppose it.
I personally believe there are better ways of addressing capacity across the rail network such as the plans put forward by High Speed UK. I ...will continue to advocate an alternative approach.
However, as it remains likely that HS2 will be built, my priority has always been to safeguard as much as I can the interests of constituents who are affected. Over the past few months my staff and I have supported several constituents who have been applying to sell their homes under the ‘Need to Sell’ scheme which ensures that they do not lose out as a result of blight. A number have already been able to sell their homes under this scheme for a fair market price.
It is also very important that the best possible environmental mitigation is put in place for HS2 if it is built. I have been working closely with Parish Councils, residents and other organisations (such as the National Trust who own and manage the Shugborough Estate) on measures such as screening and tunnelling and will continue to do so if re-elected.
November 2016: Below are my responses to recent HS2 consultations.
In May 2016 the Government launched the full package of measures to provide assistance to owner-occupiers along Phase 2a (West Midlands to Crewe) of the High Speed Two (HS2) railway.
The schemes include opportunities for residents to sell their homes to HS2, sell and rent it back or receive a one off compensation payment. Others schemes are also available.
Click here to download the HS2 Property Scheme Leaflet.
The following measures will be available:
Express Purchase - owner-occupiers may be able to sell their property to the Government at its full unblighted market value (as it would be if there were no plans for HS2), a 10 per cent home-loss payment (up to a maximum of £53,000) and reasonable moving expenses, including stamp duty.
Extended homeowner protection zones - where a property is removed from surface safeguarding, an owner-occupier will in most instances continue to be able to apply under express purchase for a period of five years from the date the property ceases to be affected by the safeguarding directions.
Need to sell - this scheme does not have a boundary and is available to owner-occupiers who can demonstrate a compelling reason to sell their house but are unable to do so other than at a discount because of HS2. The Government will pay the full, unblighted value for these properties.
Rent back - is available if a property that the Government has purchased under any of the HS2 property schemes is suitable for letting.
Further measures are being provided in rural areas where the line runs on the surface in recognition that the short-term effects on communities can reasonably be expected to be much more marked in these areas. This rural support zone (RSZ) will cover the area outside safeguarding up to 120 metres from the centre line of the railway. The RSZ will run from the connection with Phase One near Fradley in the West Midlands to the A500 south of Crewe. The schemes available in the RSZ are:
Cash offer – This is a lump sum payment of 10 per cent of the unblighted open market value of a property. This payment is a minimum of £30,000 and is capped at £100,000. This scheme will be available to eligible owner-occupiers from today until one year after Phase 2a first opens for public use.
Voluntary purchase - eligible owner-occupiers will be able to sell their home to the Government for its full unblighted value. This scheme will be available from today until one year after Phase 2a first opens for public use.
Homeowner payment scheme - Those beyond the rural support zone and within 300 metres of the centreline of the railway will, following Royal Assent of the HS2 Phase 2a Hybrid bill, be able to apply for a homeowner payment ranging from £7,500 to £22,500.
The Government has also confirmed that they have made a number of changes to the discretionary property assistance schemes. These changes will apply to Phase One as well as Phase 2a and will take effect from today. Key changes include:
Need to sell - Health and mobility issues - Added additional guidance on health and mobility whereby the independent panel will give wider consideration to an applicant’s health and mobility and the suitability of their current property.
Valuations - For need to sell and RSZ, the Government will permit the use of local surveyors in the valuation process.
I remain opposed to HS2 and will continue to make the case against it in Parliament and elsewhere. However, the number one priority is that all affected constituents get the compensation and help that they deserve. I would encourage all eligible constituents to apply for the scheme that best suits them and my office will be happy to help anyone who would like assistance with their applications. Please email email@example.com or call 01785 252 477 for more information.
More general information about HS2 can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/high-speed-two-limited
Maps have been produced showing the initial preferred route for Phase Two of HS2, which would be used to assess applications under the Exceptional Hardship Scheme, in relation to the location criterion.
The maps produced have been organised into volumes and are available to download from the Department of Transport website at the following link: