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One in 5,000 believes HS2 compensation 'adequate'

Staffordshire | News | Published:

Just one person out of nearly 5,000 thought compensation being given to residents hit by HS2 was adequate, new figures reveal.

Analysis shows that of the 4,970 people and organisations who responded to the Department for Transport consultation, only one thought the help available under the Homeowner Payment Scheme was adequate, with 4,039 said saying it was inadequate.

Concerns were raised over the amount being too low and only applying to people who live very close to the proposed line.

The DfT has previously said the compensation proposals for the £50bn high speed rail scheme would not be revised as there was no consensus in the consultation, which included responses from residents, businesses and community groups.

But now the breakdown of figures has been revealed – angering campaigners.

Some 86 per cent, or 4,259 of respondents said the areas that bosses agreed were affected by HS2 were not wide enough, with 55 per cent (2,741) saying there should be no geographic limits and that all those affected by HS2 should qualify.

And 87 per cent (4,336) either said they opposed the scheme, or it was inadequate or unfair.

John Sadler, whose home in Handsacre is just 19m from the planned track, would lose a quarter of his farmland to the development.

He wants his home, that he shares with his wife Marion, to be demolished so he can build another on the land further away from the track.

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But HS2 Ltd does not want to do that as they say there is still market value in the home. So the decision has now gone to a government committee.

Mr Sadler said: "HS2 don't consider the impact on people's lives and what it can do to someone knowing this line is coming."

Joy Fielding, 66, of Wood End Farm in Kings Bromley, said she had not bothered applying for support as she did not live within the geographical limit of 300m.

But she said it should be widened as people beyond that would still be hit. She added: "It's ridiculous. It's a very, very unfair distance in which they say we will be able to be compensated."

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The decisions document published by the DfT said that it had decided to stick with the geographical limits proposed, which run to a maximum of 300m from the line, because 'there was no consensus among those who responded to the consultation as to what the geographic limits should be'.

The Government would buy properties within 60m of the line at the full market value plus 10 per cent.

People living up to 120m from the line who do not want to sell up will be offered a cash sum equivalent to 10 per cent of the 'unblighted' value of their home.

And those living between 120m and 300m from the proposed route will be eligible for up to £22,500 in support.

But campaigners say fewer than 3,000 homeowners across the country would benefit despite the fact that 172,000 households were within 1,000m of the phase one line, and 43,000 within 500m.

Some responses to the survey argued the proposed maximum payment of £100,000 is insufficient and should be increased.

The route is set to plough through Whittington Heath Golf Club in Lichfield, and bosses are currently in talks with HS2 Ltd about what can be done to reduce the impact.

Club operations officer Alan Jarrett said: "Our position is quite different to homeowners as there is an agreement between both parties that we will work to the best advantage of our members.

"We have no reason to believe so far that we will lose any facilities."

Stop HS2 campaign manager Joe Rukin said: "When the Government first said they were sticking with the consultation proposals, we said it was a case of 'consult and ignore', but now we now that only one person thought the amount available through one of the schemes was adequate, with only two people saying the other scheme was adequate, the decision to ignore everyone else is nothing short of scandalous."

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