Blighted homes could keep pre-HS2 prices

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The Government will consider underwriting the value of homes affected by HS2.

A property bond would mean homeowners would have the price their property would have fetched before HS2 was announced guaranteed.

The Government would be the purchaser of last resort if people cannot sell their home.

Last month a judicial review ruled the HS2 property compensation consultation was ‘so unfair as to be unlawful’ and should be re-run.

Following this ruling, Vale MP John Bercow wrote to the transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin MP, urging them to consult on the idea of a property bond.

Responding to his letter, Mr McLoughlin said: “It would be inappropriate to speculate on what the final compensation package might consist of before we have thoroughly considered this [judicial review] judgement, learnt lessons from it and re-consulted.

“I can, however, confirm that we will be consulting on a property bond.”

Mr Bercow said: “I will continue to keep the pressure up on the Department for Transport to ensure that if worst comes to the worst, residents in the Buckingham constituency will not be left out of pocket as a result of a project they neither asked for or want.”

He added: “The consultation is important in that it deals with how people will be compensated for the misery and inconvenience this unwanted project is already causing.

“The High Court ruling should be seen as a wake-up call to the Government: they cannot ride a high speed train roughshod over peoples’ livelihoods without fairly compensating them.”

HS2 Action Alliance Director Hilary Wharf said a bond would install confidence in the property market.

She said: “A lot of people don’t want to move but almost become obsessed with it because their property is losing value.

“If they could hold that piece of paper in their hand they would know if the worst comes to the worst they have that reassurance.”