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Proposed HS2 compensation 'too low' and too restrictive, Hillingdon Council will tell Government

Tory-run Hillingdon Council, which opposes the construction of High Speed 2 between London and Birmingham, has agreed a critical official response to the Government consultation on compensation schemes for people living near the proposed route

Leader of Hillingdon Council, Ray Puddifoot (in suit) with Lottie Jones (far left) and Hillingdon Against HS2 members outside Uxbridge Civic Centre in 2011

Compensation payments proposed for homeowners living close to the HS2 line are “too low”, according to councillors, and will nowhere near offset the value slashed from their properties by having trains within earshot.

Hillingdon Council criticised the size of the sum being offered by the Government to qualifying owner-occupiers under two proposed schemes - the alternative cash offer and the homeowner payment - announced in April.

The former would be available to those whose properties are located in the Rural Support Zone and within 120m of the route and is intended as an alternative to selling their homes to the Government at market value under the voluntary purchase scheme.

The latter is a tapered compensation scheme for people whose homes would lie between 120m and 300m away from the railway tracks in rural areas.

Hillingdon Council’s official response to the consultation, to be approved tonight by the cabinet committee, said: “The alternative cash offer, based on just 10 per cent of the un-blighted market value of the property, is disproportionate in terms of both the actual and potential depreciation which homeowners will suffer to the value of their properties arising from the HS2 scheme.

“There is no justification given for the 10 per cent figure in the consultation document and proper consideration should be given to increasing it so that it acts as a proper incentive for property owners to remain living in their communities.”

It added: “Hillingdon also contends that the cap of between £30k and £100k is arbitrary and is not based on any established principles.

“It is too low for the same reasons as those set out above.”

The council calls on the state to pay compensation to anyone who can demonstrate their homes will be blighted by the HS2 line - not only those who live in the Rural Support Zone - and to make no distinction between large and small business because at present any company with a rateable value of £34,800 a year or more would not be eligible to claim.

“Hillingdon contends that the above payments are arbitrary and are not based on any established principles or criteria. As with the alternative cash offer scheme, the proposed payments are too low and do not recognise the vulnerability of property owners whose lives will be significantly disrupted by the HS2 scheme,” the council’s response says.

The cut-off ownership date for eligibility date for payments of April 9 this year “is unduly restrictive and should be removed” and confirmation is sought that any compensation payment will be tax free.

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