HS2 Advisory Group
At Lodders Solicitors, we have a team of lawyers dedicated to giving advice to clients about HS2. We hope that the information set out below will assist you, but if you have any queries please click on the link at the right of the page and let us know. We aim to respond to your queries as soon as possible.
What is HS2?
HS2 is a proposed high speed railway line, which will connect London Euston railway station to the Midlands and North of the country. It will run along purpose built tracks built along a new route. Just in case you were wondering, HS1 is the high speed railway line which opened in November 2007 to link London St Pancras to the Channel Tunnel.
Is my property on the route?
Please use the attached link to view the official route map. If you type in your postcode to the search field, you will be taken to the correct page of the route map. http://assets.dft.gov.uk/hs2-maps-20120110.htm
Has the final route been decided?
Not quite. The government recently undertook their Public Consultation in which the preferred route was announced. Following this Public Consultation the government will make a decision whether to go ahead with HS2. Minor changes may still occur to the route as a result of the outcome of the Public Consultation.
When will it be built?
It is proposed that the first train will run in 2026. The key dates in the timetable for HS2 are as follows:
Late 2011 – Government decides whether or not to proceed with the proposed high speed rail line.
Late 2011 – Lodders briefing; date to be confirmed
2011 – 2013 Further detailed design and assessment of the route.
2013 – Further public consultation
2014 – Hybrid Bill laid in the House of Commons
2019 – Possible start date for construction
2026 – HS2 could open.
Can I claim compensation?
To determine whether or not you are entitled to compensation a number of factors need to be taken into consideration. You may be entitled to compensation under the exceptional hardship scheme or for statutory blight. If the government needs to purchase or use your land for HS2 then as part of the compulsory purchase process you will be compensated. In order to ensure that you are properly compensated you should seek the assistance of our advisory team.
What is exceptional hardship?
The exceptional hardship scheme is available to property owners who are in desperate need to sell but have been unable to do so as their property value has been substantially affected by the announcement of the proposed high speed rail link. If you meet the eligibility criteria, you can require the government to purchase your property at the unaffected realistic market value. Ensuring you meet with the eligibility criteria in order to make a successful claim can be difficult. If you are affected by HS2 in this way, we can assist you with a potential claim, in conjunction with a specialist valuation agent.
What is “statutory blight”?
If your land or business is close to the route you may be suffering from ‘general blight’ – the reduction in value of your property due to the imminent construction of the railway.
Land or business owners usually can rely on compensation due to “statutory blight” but this is typically only possible when a Compulsory Purchase Order has been made or land has been allocated in a local development plan. If statutory blight applies, the landowner can serve a blight notice to force the local authority to purchase the land.
At the moment, as the HS2 scheme is not finalised, you cannot seek compensation for statutory blight.
When HS2 passes the Hybrid Bill stage (see 4. above), if your land or business is affected we can advise you whether or not to serve a blight notice.
When will Compulsory Purchase notices be issued?
A compulsory purchase notice is also known as a “notice to treat”. These will be issued shortly after the Hybrid Bill has been passed in parliament. It is likely that the acquisition of the land and the necessary interest in it will be set out in an Act of Parliament, as happened with London’s Crossrail scheme.
Is there a deadline for claiming?
The exceptional hardship scheme will end once it is ready to be replaced by new support arrangements for property owners. Statutory blight will become available at this stage.
Compulsory purchase compensation deadlines will be governed by the notice to treat which is served on you. If you receive a notice, we can advise and assist you in preparing your response.
What is safeguarding?
Once the final route of HS2 has been determined, in order to safeguard the route, the Secretary of State will issue directions to local authorities. This means that once a planning application is submitted which will affect the route then the local authority must notify certain bodies, including the Secretary of State for Transport. These bodies will then assess the impact of the proposed development on HS2, which in turn could lead to the application being turned down.
What is the difference between CPO and Blight?
If you are subject to a CPO, your land will be acquired from you in return for payment of market value. If your land is not required for HS2 but is affected by it, you may be able to claim compensation for blight. Of course, it may be that part of your property is made subject to a CPO while the remainder is blighted. We can assist you in obtaining the best outcome.
Do I pay tax on any compensation?
While Capital Gains Tax (CGT) is payable in the ordinary way when land is sold for HS2, CGT roll over relief is available if the proceeds of a compulsory purchase are reinvested in other land and buildings. There is no requirement that either the old or new land is used in a trade, but relief may be lost you reinvest the proceeds in property which becomes your main residence. Also, if you previously made known your willingness to sell for HS2, roll over relief is lost even if the land is ultimately acquired by a CPO. We can assist you in mitigating any CGT which is payable.