The EHS anouncement
The outcome of the Exceptional Hardship Scheme consultation has now been announced by the Secretary of State(26 July 2010). Details can be found at http://www.dft.gov.uk/press/speechesstatements/statements/hammond20100726#.
A press release, on 27 July, expressing its disappointment and concern about omissions from the analysis
HS2AA contest the EHS consultation process
The DfT's Analysis of responses to the consultation is available. This is the public record of the responses. This analysis originally omitted HS2AA from the list of organisations responding, did not refer to our formal response and omitted mention of our entire property blight report. This was despite the fact 84% of respondants supported our campaign as did 60% of councils and other bodies! It also showed in our view a biased presentation of the responses.
Having tried to sort the matter out directly and been assured the DfT had no reason to amend its documents (apart from the oversight of excluding us in the list), we had to raise the matter formally. Read our letter to DfT (of 31 July) . 5 weeks later we now learn in a 3 Sept. reply from DfT that they admit they have made a mistake. Our detailed formal response that included the findings of the blight report, was also inadvertantly omitted, and the published analysis will be reviewed and changed. The original analysis has now been amended (although no audit trail for this later change is indicated).
The DfT emphasize that both this scheme and the next one (that applies from when the route is chosen) is for those most significantly affected by the HS2 anouncement.
The key criteria are:
EHS is a voluntary (ie non-statutory scheme) whereby the Secretary of State purchases individuals’ properties who
· Are residential owner-occupiers, small business owners (rateable value of £34.8k or less), owner occupier farmers, recently inherited and repossessed properties
· Live on or 'in such close proximity of route 3 that it would be likely to be substantially adversly affected by the construction or operation of the new line' ...NB At the consultation stage the words 'in the vicinity' were used instead, but it is not known if the change in words implies a change in meaning). Properties over tunnels are only included if they are close to proposed entrances and exits
· Have an urgent need to move but cannot do so without accepting at least a 15% reduction from the unblighted market value
· Have a hardship reason for moving. These reasons cover 4 areas: Employment (change of employment location that is beyond reasonable comuting distance); Financial (external financial pressure forcing sale eg divorce, threatoned reposession); Domestic ( larger or different house due to changed family circumstances); Medical condition ( applicant or dependant has medical condition necessitating selling eg move to home or sheltered accommodation, or co-locate with other family members). The reasons for moving are not confined to these examples.
· Have made reasonable efforts to sell, which the scheme says means: actively marketed it preferably with a recognised agent, and for at least 3 months and at a realistic price. The inability to sell needs to be due to HS2 (not another reason).
· Had no offer within 85% of the open market value property price ie its unblighted value
· Did not know about HS2 when originally purchasing the property.
What to do next?
1. If you think you have a claim then make one. If you do not meet all the criteria then still try.
Before the consultation on HS2 and the route, (that begins next year) a longer-term scheme will be anounced (that starts from when the route is chosen). This new scheme will also be subject to consultation.
We will be pushing very hard between now and then to get the Alternative Scheme we proposed. We met with HS2 Ltd on 11 October 2010 to again present our proposals. Our letter of 2 November 2010 responded formally to the issues raised.
We are also working on improving the Property Blight study to provide the strongest possible evidence of the effects of blight
Documents relevant to the EHS consultation process are listed below in case they are still helpful
HS2 Action Alliance's Final Response to the EHS Consultation presented to the DfT/HS2 Ltd (17 June 2010)
HS2 Action Alliance's EHS Consultee's pack (April Briefing document, as attached to Final 17 June Response)
HS2 Action Alliance's Property Blight from HS2: Pilot Study (submitted as part of Final Response on EHS, with cover letter)
Disclaimer: HS2 Action Alliance has made best endeavours to ensure the accuracy and completeness of this material and any advice given, but it should not be relied upon legally.