Following months of speculation as to the future of HS2 beyond Birmingham and Crewe, the Government has finally announced the revised proposed route for Phase 2b of the major infrastructure project – taking the line from Crewe up to Manchester and across the West Midlands to Leeds.
With the announcement comes a number of key associated developments:
- The Government has issued safeguarding directions to protect the announced route meaning that development and future planning applications will be restricted and/or prevented;
- The route has changed – in some cases significantly – from that originally proposed meaning that some communities will have seen today threats to their day to day live and the value of their assets that were not previously anticipated. In many cases those communities will experience all of the pain of HS2 but with none of the benefits, any proposed stations being many miles away;
- There is still no published plan for a station in Sheffield leaving many uncertain as to whether or not their properties will be affected in the future;
- Those affected (and who qualify) are now entitled to serve blight notices requiring the Government to acquire their property interests and pay compensation. The Need to Sell and Express Purchase schemes are also available; and
- The Government is now consulting on both the proposed route and the wider property compensation scheme to be offered. Both consultations end next March and will be the subject to future blogs.
As commented by one of our key HS2 partners, Stephen Lashmar, Associate Director at Roger Hannah & Co (leading north west based firm of chartered surveyors with its head office in Manchester), “the Government’s announcement is welcome especially for those who have lived with the uncertainty along the route over the last few years, whilst Phase 1 and 2A have come forward. In particular the decision to introduce the Express Purchase Scheme will give affected residential owners the comfort that things will start to move forward and they can get their lives back on track. However the uncertainty in respect to the route through Sheffield and the location of a station in the City Centre remains a cause for concern for residents which is being fed back to us from our conversations with affected parties particularly on the Shimmer Estate in Mexborough”.
Further, owners and occupiers of business premises will, if Phase One is anything to go by, be in a very difficult position. Compensation packages available for businesses are likely to be very limited meaning businesses would be well advised to take early advice as to what steps they may be able to take to mitigate their position and ascertain whether they are eligible for any of the existing compensation schemes.
The dedicated Charles Russell Speechlys HS2 team has already secured a number of positive results for various affected parties on Phase One of the line and its joint heads, David Haines (partner) and Richard Flenley (senior associate), together with their partners (including Roger Hannah & Co) are perfectly placed to advise anyone affected by Phases 2a and 2b of the scheme.