Park Village East
66. In paragraph 196 of the report the Select Committee said:
“For all these reasons the owner-occupiers of Park Village East are among
those who will be most severely affected by the works, and to whom we
recommend that the Secretary of State should provide further compensation
going beyond what is at present proposed.”
67. The Promoter’s response on this issue is set out in paragraphs 73 to 78 below.
Mornington Terrace, Mornington Place, Mornington Crescent
68. In paragraph 203 of the report the Select Committee said:
“We heard a large number of petitions from residents, with Mr David Auger
taking the lead on behalf of the Camden Cutting Group, supported by many
other smaller groups and by individual petitioners. There was some useful
evidence about sound insulation (see paragraph 371 below). Almost all the
houses in Mornington Terrace, and several in Mornington Street, Mornington
Place and the exposed south-west part of Mornington Crescent, will suffer as
much disturbance by noise as residents in Park Village East, although without
the prolonged deprivation of vehicular access that will occur there. On the
other hand, for some the noise may be even worse, as they will be closer to
the demolition of the carriage sheds and the reconstruction of the two
southern bridges. We consider that this group of residents should also receive
further compensation commensurate with that recommended for Park Village
69. The Promoter’s response on this issue is set out in paragraphs 73 to 78 below.
The Ampthill Square Estate
70. In paragraph 207 of the report the Select Committee said:
“We consider that the tenants and leaseholders in the two high-rise blocks
known as Dalehead and Gillfoot are likely to suffer exceptional disruption over
a long period, whatever fine-tuning there may yet be in relation to the
alignment and height of the Hampstead Road bridge. We consider that they,
and the tenants and leaseholders in Cartmel on the other side, should receive
some significant monetary compensation for disruption which cannot, as we
see it, be adequately mitigated. It is most unsatisfactory that the exact
configuration of these important works is still uncertain at this very late stage.”
71. The Promoter’s response on this issue is set out in paragraphs 73 to 78 below.
Recommendations on improved compensation
72. In paragraphs 215-221 of the report the Select Committee said:
“We make a strong recommendation, therefore, that those households in
Camden, and any in Hillingdon and Birmingham, that are so threatened by
construction noise as to be entitled to noise insulation, should be treated in the
same way as if they were within 120m of the line of route in an area where the
Rural Support Zone (RSZ) applies. Eligibility to noise insulation is an objective
test, involving independent experts. That would in our view be a suitable
equivalent to the 240m “ribbon” of the RSZ, which would not be appropriate in
a densely developed urban area with very different degrees of exposure to
noise and general disruption during the construction phase. At Old Oak
Common we have specified streets, in view of the wholly exceptional
disruption in that area.
The consequence would be that owner-occupiers in these areas would be
entitled to participate in the Voluntary Purchase Scheme, including its Cash
Option (which would, we think, for most owner-occupiers be the preferred
option). We do not suggest that the cash limits should be raised because of
high unblighted market values in parts of Camden. The same option would be
open to the owners of sought-after villas in Park Village East and to right-tobuy
owners on the Regent’s Park Estate and the Ampthill Square Estate. For
residential tenants who do not qualify as owner-occupiers we suggest the right
to payment of a lump sum well in excess of the £5,800 payable to council
tenants who have to be rehoused because their flats are to be demolished.
Those tenants will have to move, but they will be moving away from at least
the worst of the noise and disruption. £10,000 would in our view be an
appropriate sum for the most threatened council and private residential
tenants who remain behind.
We cannot make anything like an accurate estimate of the cost of this
proposal, but we thought it right to make a rough calculation of its likely order
of magnitude. Four areas need to be considered: Camden, Old Oak Common, Ickenham and Birmingham.
(1) At Camden about 1,300 dwellings will be eligible for noise insulation.
Some of these are social housing, but some former social housing is
owner-occupied after exercise of the right to buy. Some houses, or parts
of houses, are privately rented. We have assumed 1,000 owneroccupiers
and 300 council or private tenants.
(2) At Old Oak Common we estimate that there are about 20 dwellings in
Stephenson Street, about 60 in Shaftesbury Gardens and Midland
Terrace, and about 110 in Wells House Road (of which about 20 are
already within the Express Purchase Scheme). We have assumed 150
owner-occupiers and 20 tenants.
(3) We are not aware that there will be any noise insulation at Ickenham but
we have assumed 10 owner-occupiers.
(4) Similarly we are not aware that there will be any noise insulation at
Birmingham but we have assumed 40 owner-occupiers and 30 tenants.
The assumed totals are therefore 1,200 owner-occupiers and 350 tenants of
dwellings of varying size, quality and market value.
The Voluntary Purchase Scheme is significantly less attractive than the
Express Purchase Scheme and we would expect that as many as 90 per cent
of eligible owner-occupiers would opt for the cash option, which is capped at
£100,000. If the unblighted value of the average house or flat is assumed to
be (A) £1m (B)£1.5m (C) £2m the immediate cost to the promoter (balanced
by the acquisition of a bank of residential property which could be expected to
increase in value over the long term) would be as follows (the figures at (2) are
likely to be rather lower since even in London not every dwelling has a market
value of £1m or more).
These are substantial amounts but the extended compensation would be bringing much needed relief to over 1,500 householders and their families. The figures have to be considered in the light of other known payments made
or to be made by the promoter, for instance £26.5m for the Hillingdon Outdoor
Activities Centre and £3.4m for a single house in Potter Row near Great
Missenden. If the cost is regarded as prohibitive, a cash option only, capped at
£50,000 for owner-occupiers, would cost (on the above assumptions) £63.5m.
Since the Voluntary Purchase Scheme is a non-statutory scheme, there is no
mention of it in the bill. In theory the principal purpose of our hearing petitions
is to consider amendments to the bill, although in practice much is achieved,
by assurances and concessions, without the need for any formal amendment.
We are in doubt as to whether we have power to direct the Secretary of State
to make this major change to the Voluntary Payment Scheme, and even if we
clearly had the power we would not exercise it. There is too much uncertainty
about the likely cost to the public funds, and there may be adjustments and
refinements that can usefully be made to our proposal. But we do make a
strong recommendation that a substantial concession on these lines should be
made to those urban householders who will be most severely affected, and
who feel, with some justification, that they are not receiving fair treatment.”
73. The Government accepts the Committee’s strong recommendation that, in the
case of those households in Camden and Old Oak Common, those households (if
any) in Hillingdon and Birmingham and those households in close proximity to a
construction compound or spoil heap that are subject to severe and prolonged noise
and disturbance resulting from the construction of HS2, compensation should be
offered in addition to any statutory remedy for which they may be eligible.
74. The Government will develop and bring into effect in a timely way a scheme of
compensation for that purpose. The purpose of the scheme will be to provide a fair
and proportionate remedy for the effects of severe and prolonged noise and
disturbance resulting from the construction of HS2. Such a scheme will take into
account the mitigation provided by noise insulation measures and will reflect the
difference between construction disturbance in urban areas and permanent
operational impacts in rural areas.
75. The scheme will be founded upon a clear and objective eligibility criterion or
criteria tailored to its intended purpose. The Government will ensure that the scheme
is fair, reasonable and proportionate, in the spirit of the strong recommendation of
the Select Committee.
76. The Government confirms now that one component of the scheme will be that, in
the case of any owner-occupied residential property in respect of which the occupier
or occupiers are or become eligible for temporary rehousing for a period or periods in
excess of three months, the owner-occupier(s) will have the option of requiring the
Secretary of State to purchase the property for its full un-blighted value on the same
terms as apply to residential properties purchased under the Voluntary Purchase and
Need to Sell Schemes.
77. We will also develop appropriate arrangements for residential tenants in
properties that are subject to severe and prolonged noise and disturbance resulting
from the construction of HS2.
78. While the Government respects the Select Committee’s recommendation in this
area, it maintains its view that, even in the absence of an urban compensation
scheme as discussed above, the Government’s property compensation schemes are
compatible with Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Need to Sell Scheme
79. In paragraphs 246-247 of the report the Select Committee said:
“Nevertheless the Secretary of State has recently announced a further
consultation and review of the scheme, in which Ms Wharf is to participate.
That is good news. Subject to what may come out of the review, we accept
that some of the grievances which petitioners have in the past expressed
about the Need to Sell Scheme were well-founded. We would certainly not go
as far as many petitioners asked, that is to recast it as a “wish to sell” scheme.
That would be disproportionate. But we do consider that the “compelling
reason to sell” condition should be clarified, and that the clarification should be
given wide publicity (and firmly impressed on the promoter’s own staff who
may be asked about it). It should be made clear that for the applicant to be
financially embarrassed may be a sufficient, but is definitely not a necessary,
condition for a successful application. It should be made clear that a
compelling reason may be a combination of factors which are together
compelling (such as age, moderate disability, impending retirement, and adult
children leaving home). It should also be made clear that prolonged noise and
disruption from construction work, which the applicant finds intolerable, may
itself be a compelling reason for sale. We understood Mr Mould QC to accept
As to the grievance expressed by many petitioners, that these applications are
usually decided by a civil servant acting with the authority of the Secretary of
State, and that there is no right of appeal, we think that the existence of the
independent panel which makes a recommendation does provide a genuinely
independent element. We are reluctant to introduce more complication into
what is already a fairly complicated scheme. But the publication of decisions
(with appropriate redactions) would, together with a fuller (though not
exhaustive) list of matters that may amount to a “compelling reason” for sale,
would increase transparency and increase confidence in the scheme. We urge
the Secretary of State to adopt this approach.”
80. The Government welcomes the recommendations of the Committee on the
Need to Sell (NTS) discretionary compensation scheme. From today, we are going
to publish all relevant examples of ‘compelling reasons to sell’ where an application
for NTS is accepted. This will be done on a quarterly basis and sufficiently redacted
to protect the confidentiality of applications.
81. As noted by the Committee, the NTS scheme and all other discretionary
compensation and assistance schemes are currently the subject of a Government
consultation. The Government will respond in full to the Committee’s
recommendations on compelling reasons to sell as part of its consultation response.