Doncaster campaigners concerns over HS2 compensation

HS2 campaign
HS2 campaign

High Speed Rail bosses need to look at how they compensate Doncaster's rural villages which could be blighted by their scheme, says a community leader.

Doncaster North MP Ed Miliband is currently trying to arrange a meeting in London with HS2 minister Paul Maynard with residents from villages such as Barnbugh and Hickelton - and they feel more needs to be sorted in terms of how they are compensated.

Rhonda Job, the chairman of the Joint Rural Parishes, which represents a number of rural parish councils in Doncaster who opposed HS2 travelling through the area, is not happy with how HS2 have worked with the community so far.

She is still hoping to have the route diverted when HS2 looks in detail at the route over the coming years, because of issues such as subsidence due to old mine workings.

But she feels it is important that any compensation is straightforward to apply for, and that it must serve those whose rural homes or farms are blighted, not just those on the Shimmer estate in Mexborough or those which will have to be demolished.

She said: "There are going to be people's homes which are affected by this visually, or are going to have a noise impact.

"Barnbugh could potentially get a 60ft high embankment, which we fear could isolate it and split it from other villages. Hickelton could get a 60ft cutting nearby , and Clayton could have a 50-60ft viaduct near a listed churchyard.

"It is not just about the houses that are being demolished. There are other houses that will be impacted, where there will be nothing to buffer the noise. HS2 does not have an environmental study yet.

"How do they compensate when you're close to the line? If anyone's house is going to be affected they should be compensated, but HS2 will not accept this. I don't think compensation goes far enough yet.

"If people in these villages want to leave because of HS2, I think HS2 should pay the unblighted value for their home."

She would like to see a regulator in place to keep and eye on the process.

An HS2 spokesperson said:“HS2 will connect eight out of our ten biggest cities, increase rail capacity on the current system and reduce journey times, while also creating thousands of jobs and acting as a catalyst for economic growth across the UK.

“We understand that people living close to the line of route will be concerned about the impact the project may have on their properties. That’s why seven years ago we set up the first of a series of compensation and discretionary assistance schemes to help give homeowners affected by the scheme the chance to sell their properties at their full unblighted market value, well ahead of the start of construction.

“Every home is unique and we appreciate that there will often be different opinions about the true value of a property. We try to recognise unique circumstances where we can, but have a responsibility to establish a price that is fair both for homeowners and the taxpayer. In order to ensure long term value for money, we currently rent out the vast majority of lettable properties and plan to sell all those we don’t need for construction, once the first trains are running.”

The current HS2 plans for which areas they regard as affected by the railway does not extend to the villages like Barnbugh and Hickleton.

Details can be found on the website: https://www.gov.uk/claim-compensation-if-affected-by-hs2