HS2 is the Government’s proposed high speed rail link that will connect Euston in London to Birmingham and Lichfield (known as Phase 1) with extensions to Manchester and Leeds (known as Phase 2). In total, the scheme is estimated at 2015 prices to cost £55.7 billion (including rolling stock).
Click here to view the route:
Phase 1 Spring 2017 update:
On the 23rd February 2017 Phase 1 of HS2 received Royal Assent. This followed more than three years of Parliamentary scrutiny. The High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) hybrid Bill is Government legislation which gives powers for Phase 1 of HS2 to be built.
Upon the granting of Royal Assent the Bill became an Act of Parliament. The Bill now grants planning and provides compulsory purchase powers for the construction of the new high speed railway from Euston in London through to both Birmingham and Lichfield in the West Midlands.
Previously, HS2 had made safeguarding directions that triggered statutory compensation for homeowners and certain qualifying businesses. This compensation provision still remains in place following Royal Assent of the Bill for Phase 1. In particular, a property occupier may be able to serve a Blight Notice- enabling their property to be purchased from them at its full un-blighted value. Safeguarding plans for phase 1 can be found here
Over the next eighteen months HS2 will complete their remaining surveys for Phase 1 and ready themselves for major construction to commence in 2018. This is expected to be followed by eight years of building works ready for Phase 1 to open in 2026.
With Royal Assent having been granted property owners within the Safeguarded Zone of the route continue to deal with a number of issues, including Blight Notice applications, completion of further Land Interest Questionnaires plus requests from HS2 for ecology and ground investigation licences. Berrys can help at each stage of the process with HS2.
Phases 2a and 2b Spring 2017 Update:
The Hybrid Bill for HS2 Phase 1 will be followed by a second Bill for Phase 2a between the West Midlands and Crewe. This second Bill is expected to be deposited with Parliament in 2017 and receive Royal Assent in 2019. The Government wants the first part of Phase 2 – the Phase 2a route between the West Midlands and Crewe – to open in 2027, six years ahead of Phase 2b.
A third Bill will follow and seek powers for the Phase 2b route. HS2’s goal is for this remaining phase of the high speed rail network to then extend into the centres of Manchester and Leeds by 2033.
HS2 announced its preferred route for Phase 2a in November 2015 and for Phase 2b in November 2016. It has also launched compensation schemes and has now safeguarded the routes of both Phase 2a and 2b. As a result many property owners within the safeguarded areas can apply for Blight Notices (further details below). There are still some areas of uncertainty regarding the exact route of Phase 2b as the Government is consulting on seven modifications to the route: this consultation will close in March 2017.
The safeguarding plans for Phase 2a section between West Midlands and Crewe can be found here
On 15th November 2016 the government announced their preferred route for Phase 2b. Information and plans for Phase 2b can be found here:
Blight Notices for Phases 1, 2a and 2b: a Statutory Blight Notice allows a qualifying property owner-occupier within the Safeguarded Zone to sell their property to HS2 at its un-blighted open market value. In addition, those property owners who have a Blight Notice accepted can claim for other costs such as Home Loss Payments and Stamp Duty on replacement property, removal costs, legal fees and a broad range of other items associated with a property move.
Berrys have extensive success in obtaining Blight Notices for clients and then negotiating a bespoke full and comprehensive claim that allows the home owner to move away prior to the construction of the HS2 scheme.
Early Access Licences – HS2 are seeking early access licences to allow their appointed contractors onto private property along the route. Under these discretionary licences HS2 seek to carry out either ecology surveys for the potential presence of bats, badger, newts, etc. or to carry out ground investigation surveys including boring, trial pits, etc. Berrys are experienced in acting for land owners and occupiers to ensure that where such discretionary licences are signed the best terms and payments are achieved.
Construction of Phase 1 – With HS2 and their appointed contractors expected to start work along the Safeguarded route in early 2018 Berrys are already talking to clients about the impact it will have on their remaining property and potential mitigation works. The House of Commons petitioning process has now finished, Royal Assent granted and much of the opportunity to require HS2 to complete accommodation works has passed. However, Berrys’ past experience of such compulsory purchase infrastructure schemes indicates that we might be able to negotiate further minor accommodation works for land owners if it can be proven such works will adequately mitigate that property owner’s eventual compensation claim.
As construction continues many affected land owners will need and be entitled to an agent to represent them on a day-to-day basis. Berrys are experience in providing property owners with such a professional service and benefit from having an office within eight miles of the Phase 1 route. From our Towcester office we are centrally located to assist property owners along the whole of Phase 1.