A compensation scheme for householders affected by the planned High Speed 2 rail link has been launched today.
The Government will buy homes and business properties blighted by their proximity to High-Speed 2 - the proposed multi-billion-pound route between London and Birmingham.
Under the Exceptional Hardship Scheme, an independent panel has been set up which will look at applications on a case-by-case basis.
The offer applies only to properties on the preferred route of the High Speed 2 (HS2) line - which leaves London via Ruislip and passes near Amersham, Wendover and Aylesbury before approaching Birmingham between Coventry and Kenilworth - and not to two alternatives which follow more westerly or easterly routes.
Applicants must show that the property has been on the market for three months or more and attracted no offers above 85% of its value before the route was announced in March.
Transport secretary Philip Hammond said the scheme is intended to ensure that “people who currently are faced with extreme hardship as a result of the identification of that route have the possibility of being able to sell their properties, notwithstanding the inevitable planning blight”.
Guidance issued by the Department for Transport has indicated that the state will not buy homes where the proposed route envisages a tunnel running underneath the property. And commercial properties will only qualify if they have a rateable value under £34,800.
It suggested that reasons for needing to sell a property urgently could include work, a new baby, a move into sheltered accommodation, medical problems, divorce or the threat of repossession.