James Del Mar, head of Knight Frank’s HS2 team, said he was not surprised by the results of the survey. He said:
“Although we do not take a view on the merits, or otherwise, of the scheme, it is clear from the results of this survey and by talking to many of those affected, that HS2 Ltd and the government could have done more to keep them informed.
“A five-month consultation opened this week and road shows will be held along the length of the route, but many people have been living under the shadow of the scheme since it was first announced in March 2010. For those with an urgent need to sell their properties, the uncertainty has been particularly unsettling.
“Details of the Exceptional Hardship Scheme* are, for example, available on the internet, but it is clear that for a scheme of this magnitude those affected expected more personal communication from the government.”
Residential, commercial or agricultural property owners likely to be affected should take a proactive approach towards any compensation schemes, including compulsory purchase, emphasises Mr Del Mar.
Landowners, in particular, should ensure that they don’t ignore the opportunities that HS2 may present. Two examples of this could be the potential for mineral extraction and residential or commercial development.
“Consideration should be given to the ownership structure of a farm or estate prior to the start of the route’s safeguarding process, which could commence soon after the public consultation ends. This will ensure any potential losses are fully accounted for. Taking expert advice could prove very cost effective.”
If HS2 does go ahead, landowners could also benefit from renting land to the companies building the line, he adds.
“Many property owners will be putting all their efforts into campaigning against the scheme, and this is entirely understandable, but it is important that people also focus on ensuring they are in the best position if HS2 does go ahead.
“Now that the public consultation has started it will be essential for all those affected to attend the road shows, ask their questions and register their concerns. HS2 Ltd is also seeking views on a second discretionary compensation scheme – those affected should make their views clearly known”
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