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HS1 planning restrictions could be lifted

HS1 route

Proposals to reduce planning restrictions for land along the High Speed 1 (HS1) route from London St Pancras to the Channel Tunnel are being released for a public consultation.

HS1’s infrastructure is protected under safeguarding planning regulations, which restrict development too close to the 108km rail line. The restrictions are in place as access to the infrastructure had to be maintained during construction.

However, the Department for Transport (DfT) argues that since the route opened 10 years ago, there is less need to keep the planning restrictions in place.

The four-week consultation will cover a reduction of the safeguarding boundary around the rail line from 60m to 30m, and freeing 53% of adjacent land. Safeguarding restrictions for tunnels along the route will still apply.

“HS1 has been a success story for 10 years now, providing a high speed link between London and stations in continental Europe,” said rail minister Paul Maynard.

“These proposed changes will have no effect on the high speed service for passengers. They will simply reduce the restrictions on developments close to it.”

Development near the HS1 route, which cost £7.3bn in 2009, has not been without controversy. In 2002 planning permission was secured for 15,000 homes in Ebbsfleet, where the HS1 Ebbsfleet International station had been built. To date only 500 homes have been built, despite an extra £310M from government for the scheme.

The consultation will run for four weeks from 10 July to 13 August 2017.

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