In February 2018, work began on the first phase of the HS2 project – a high speed train service that will run between London and the West Midlands and travel through 60km of Buckinghamshire.
Since Royal assent was given to HS2 by the Queen in 2017, around £7million has been paid out in compensation to homeowners under the Homeowner Payment Scheme. According to the Department for Transport, it gives eligible property owners living near the HS2 route in rural areas an opportunity to “share in the future economic benefits of the railway”.
However, it seems that despite HS2 Ltd writing to all relevant households, around two thirds have not availed of the scheme, as there is still £13million left in unclaimed compensation.
Through the Homeowner Payment Scheme, owner occupiers living between 120 and 300 metres either side of the centre line of the planned railway line are eligible to receive £7,500, £15,000 or £22,500, depending on the distance.
After an owner occupier has received a letter from HS2 Ltd confirming eligibility, they need to instruct a solicitor to advise them on the terms of the payment and check and certify their identity, in order to recover the compensation. Payment can only be made through a solicitor and not direct to the homeowner. HS2 will cover the solicitor’s costs up to £500 plus VAT.
Although the scheme will be open for applications until 2027 – a year after Phase One of the railway opens – it’s best to avoid any last-minute rush. And as the process can take up to two months for eligibility to be confirmed, it’s best to start as soon as possible.