Many constituents have raised concerns with me about the compensation arrangements available to those who are directly and specially affected by the construction and operation of the proposed high speed rail line from London to Birmingham. Since the announcement of the line-of-route, a key concern of mine has been to ensure that homeowners wishing to sell up and move away can do so quickly, fairly, and with a decent compensation package. For those who are affected by HS2 this is of absolute paramount importance, and I have been doing all that I can – along with other Members of Parliament whose constituencies are affected – to secure the best deal for local residents.
The Exceptional Hardship Scheme (EHS) was never popular, and the criteria for applications for compensation being granted were onerous at best. Local residents, campaign action groups, myself and others worked hard to replace EHS with something that would be more viable, with a greater emphasis on HS2 Ltd being sympathetic to the plight of the local communities their high speed rail line was running through.
The latest scheme for people like those in South Northamptonshire is the Need to Sell (NTS) scheme, which was created to make the compensation process more accessible and easier to understand for all involved. However, as many residents will be aware, the intention hasn't quite matched the outcome and the scheme still falls short in a number of areas.
Recently the Chairman of the HS2 Select Committee wrote to me, and other MPs, to invite us to submit evidence on the effectiveness of the NTS scheme against EHS and to highlight areas where improvements could be made. In consultation with homeowners along the line-of-route and our fantastic campaign action groups, I have written a full response to the Chairman to outline the concerns that were shared with me. I have attached a copy of this letter below.
As ever, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me if I can be of help on this or any other matter.