HS2 in Staffordshire – What are my options?

12th August 2015

What is HS2?

HS2 is the proposed high speed railway line, which will connect London Euston railway station to the Midlands and North of England via the cities of Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.

HS2 is intended to provide a faster way to travel throughout the UK with trains achieving speeds of up to 250mph and reducing journey times between London and Manchester by around one hour.

HS2 phase 1 will be between London and Birmingham. Construction of phase 1 is set to begin in 2017 with an indicated opening date of 2026. HS2 phase 2, which is not set to be operational until 2033, would see the route split into two, one continuing to Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly and the other to Leeds.

Is my property on the route?

The government has provided an interactive map of the HS2 route, which you can see by clicking here. Enter your postcode to see where your property is in relation to the route.

You can also download a map of the London to West Midlands route by visiting the website. This includes the plan for for Chetwolde to Birmingham and Staffordshire.

Has the route been finalised?

Not yet. Minor changes to the route may still occur as the consultation period will allow the public to have their say. The hybrid bill remains on track to achieve royal assent by the end of 2016.

Can I claim compensation?

This depends on a number of factors. Eligibility for the compensation schemes depends on the location of your property and what phase of HS2 affects you.

You may be able to sell your property to the government at its market price, known as unblighted value, or receive a lump sum payment if it is near the route.

See the HS2 website to see if you are in one of the affected zones. We can help advise you on whether you are eligible and assist you in getting the compensation you are entitled to.

What happens if I am eligible for compensation?

If you are in a safeguarded area, generally properties within 60 metres of the proposed route, you can serve the government with a statutory blight notice. This will allow you to sell your property to the government for its open market value – what it would be worth if HS2 had not been proposed. This is done through the Express Purchase Scheme or Need to Sell Scheme.

If you are in a rural support zone, typically between 60 and 120 metres from the route, you can apply through the Cash Offer Scheme, if you prefer to stay where you are, or through the Voluntary Purchase Scheme to sell your property to the government at its open-market value.

If you are in the homeowner payment zone, you may be eligible for the Homeowner Payment Scheme. This will only be available after the construction of HS2 is authorised by Parliament. You can apply now through the Need to Sell Scheme.

What if I am outside the zones?

You may still be able to apply for compensation if you believe you are affected by the HS2 route through the Need to Sell Scheme or Exceptional Hardship Scheme. If you are unsure, one of our solicitors can help you.

Do I have an option to rent and continue living in the property?

You can apply to rent and continue living in the property if you sell it to the government under one of the schemes. The property will then be let for an initial term of six months at full open market rent.

Do I pay tax on my compensation?

Capital gains tax is payable when land is sold for HS2, but roll over relief is available if the proceeds of a compulsory purchase are reinvested in land and buildings. Old or new land does not have to be used in a trade, but relief may be lost if you reinvest the proceeds in property that becomes your main residence.

It is also worth noting that if you previously made known your willingness to sell for HS2, roll over relief is lost even if the land is ultimately acquired by a compulsory order. However, our solicitors can assist you to ensure you do not pay any unnecessary capital gains tax.

What happens if I do not serve a statutory blight notice and the government needs to buy my property?

If the hybrid bill is passed giving the go ahead for construction of HS2, then the government can start issuing compulsory purchase orders to affected property owners.

If you receive a notice we can advise and assist you in issuing a response.

For further information about HS2 and how we can help you if you are affected, please contact Adele Wakefield on 01543 431182 or email, or Neil Faunch on 01543 267191 or email