BUSINESSES and landowners are being urged to take stock following the Government’s announcement that HS2 will go ahead.
That’s the advice from Iain Johnston, HS2 legal advisor and head of the planning and environmental team at Birmingham law firm SGH Martineau.
“The first thing to say is that although ministers have approved the route, it is not set in stone. There were a whole host of amendments made during the consultation process last year and it is still susceptible to legal challenge by judicial review by one of the many third party action groups,” he said.
“Assuming legal challenges do not hold up the process, the next step will be the Safeguarding Consultation in spring of this year to protect the land needed to build and operate HS2 from other development proposals.
“The government has been operating an Exceptional Hardship Scheme (EHS) for those who are suffering undue hardship in blighted properties and are unable to sell.
“The EHS is not straightforward and I urge people to take professional advice as the devil is in the detail.”
Evidence from the Kenilworth area suggests that the blight effect of HS2 has been substantial and that some properties very near the line, but outside any potential CPO, will have great difficulty in selling. Prices are generally down by 20 per cent.
“When the route is ‘safeguarded’ later this year EHS will close and thereafter the statutory blight procedures are triggered,” said Mr Johnston.
“This is, in reality, a speeded up form of compulsory purchase.”
“Despite all the negative comments about HS2 which have been much publicised, there is no doubt that it will create business opportunities, especially around the identified important transport hubs.
There is also no doubt that many businesses and landowners will be adversely affected.”