Homeowners whose properties will be blighted by the £32 billion HS2 rail line should be given guaranteed compensation based on what their homes would be worth if the scheme had never been considered, an MP has said.
Michael Fabricant has written to the Government calling for it to adopt “property bonds”. Homeowners near Lichfield were invited to a consultation event at the Guildhall last Friday to find out about compensation they could claim but heavy snow prevented many from attending.
Now, the MP has called for the Government firm leading the scheme, HS2 Ltd, to repeat the event.
HS2 would provide 225mph trains and there would be two new stations built in Birmingham under proposals.
But many living in rural areas are against the rail plan – which would begin construction in 2016 and take 10 years – because it will cut through the countryside and blight homes in areas like Kings Bromley, while work will pass close to Lichfield itself.
Conservative MP Mr Fabricant said: “Property bonds give assurance to home and other property owners along the route of HS2 that they will receive a guaranteed minimum amount for their property.
“The valuation for the bond would be undertaken on the basis of the property’s value had it not been blighted by the HS2 route.
“The Government would underwrite the value set for the property, making up the shortfall if it sells for less.”
In his letter to the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, Mr Fabricant has said: “The property bond scheme continues to receive widespread support from the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the National Association of Estate Agents, the National Farmers’ Union, and the High Speed 2 Action Alliance among others.
“Also, the private sector has devised such a scheme in the past for proposed new runways at Heathrow and Stansted, and Central Railways in relation to a new freight railway.”
The consultation into the scheme closes on January 31.
By Political Editor Daniel Wainwright