HS2 buys residential properties and land worth £600m
|bbc.com 17 Apr 2019 at 23:02|
More than 900 properties worth nearly £600m have been bought by the company responsible for delivering High Speed Rail 2 (HS2), figures show.
They include Whatcroft Hall, sold by comedian John Bishop for £6.8m, the highest price paid for any property.
Campaigners opposed to the rail project said some homeowners had been treated badly, claiming homes were routinely undervalued by HS2.
HS2 said it had to achieve a fair price for both homeowners and taxpayers.
The £56bn high-speed rail line is designed to boost the UK s economy by cutting journey times between London and the Midlands and the north of England.
The first passenger services are expected to operate between the capital and Birmingham in 2026, with phase two of the project to Manchester and Leeds earmarked for completion by 2034.
Doubts about the future of the route have been raised, after the government would be looking again at the project in its next spending review.
Homeowners who live in the path of the proposed route are entitled to compensation.
Certain residents are able to sell their home to HS2 at the full "unblighted" market price but some have claimed HS2 has undervalued their homes.
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Media caption I ve known marriages break up over HS2
Tracy Stone, from Mexborough in South Yorkshire, lives on the Shimmer Estate, which made headlines when the route was announced because it was so newly-built residents had only just moved in when they learned their homes were at risk of demolition to make way for HS2.
She recently sold her house to HS2 after being told the proposed route would go directly through the estate.
"Four days after I moved on to the Shimmer Estate I was told most of the new estate would have to be knocked down," she said.
"As we ve tried to sell our homes, its felt like HS2 have tried to put obstacles in our way at every turn.
"They ve been offering ridiculously low prices and the whole process just feels very unfair."
The mother of two said she had recently settled on a valuation of £169,000 for her home, £5,000 less than the real market value she understands it holds.
"We were promised by the government and HS2 that they would look after people on this estate, but that hasn t happened," said Ms Stone.