The UK government has marked its preferred route for the high speed rail link from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds. The government, however, is being criticized as the move could spell disaster for the new housing estate.
Home owners will be compensated for property that would come in the way of HS2, officials have confirmed. The rail link is due to be completed by 2033.
‘HS2 is an ambitious and exciting project and the government is seizing the opportunity it offers to build a transport network fit for the 21st century, one that works for all and makes clear to the world that Britain remains open for business,’ said Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.
‘The full HS2 route will be a game-changer for the country that will slash journey times and perhaps most importantly give rail passengers on the existing network thousands of extra seats every day. They represent the greatest upgrade to our railway in living memory,’ he pointed out.
‘But while it will bring significant benefits, I recognise the difficulties faced by communities along the route. They will be treated with fairness, compassion and respect and, as with Phase One, we intend to introduce further compensation which goes over and above what is required by law,’ he added.
HS2 will continue from Crewe to Manchester city centre via Manchester Airport on the western front. A new HS2 station will come up near Manchester Piccadilly and there will be connection to Liverpool and West Coast main line. The line will continue further north to Glasgow and Edinburgh.
In the east, HS2 will continue from the West Midlands to Toton in the East Midlands, where a new HS2 station will be built to connect Nottingham, Derby and other regions. It will continue from East Midlands to South Yorkshire and serve Sheffield. The line will continue from South Yorkshire to Leads where a new HS2 station will come up next to the existing station. HS2 will also connect to East Coast Main Line and serve York, Newcastle and other places in the north-east.
Mark Hayward, managing director of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) said it is good news that the Government will pay compensation to home owners affected by the construction but said, ‘However we remain concerned about the prospect of demolishing a brand new housing estate in Mexborough, South Yorkshire. Considerable amounts of money and time has gone into the construction of that estate and it suggests that the Government’s approach to infrastructure construction is dis-jointed’.
‘People who bought those properties did so under the impression that they would be able to live there for years, bringing up families and creating homes. We call on the Government to fundamentally rethink its plans to ensure that the properties in Mexborough are saved and by doing so preserving homes for years to come,’ he added.
Farming organisations said that hundreds of farmers and rural businesses will have a devastating effect on their property. The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has asked for fair treatment of all those affected by the scheme.
‘Those affected must have certainty on what land or property will be taken, when it will be taken and whether the owners will get it back after construction, so they can plan for the future as best they can,’ said CLA president Ross Murray.
He called on the Government to ensure that HS2 Ltd, the company responsible for building the £55.7 billion railway, only takes land and property needed for its construction to minimise the impact on rural businesses along the route.
‘HS2 Ltd must work with farmers and landowners to find the best sites for replacement habitat, rather than arbitrarily allocating land next to the line and worsening the impact on rural businesses,’ he added.
‘Those whose property will be needed for the scheme can start to lodge statutory blight claims. These oblige the government to purchase the property for an agreed value along with financial compensation for the financial impact on farms or other businesses,’ he explained.
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