Anyone who has claimed compensation for HS2 blight will know that it is a process that feels like 12 rounds of boxing, even for the initiated in property. Agreeing valuations and the quantum that should flow can be painfully long-winded.


Darren Williamson

With a view to speeding up and giving more choice to the process, the government launched a consultation on 19 May (which will end on 30 June) for views on the introduction of a new Streamlined Residential Blight (SRB) scheme and various other changes to the HS2 compensation regime.

The SRB proposal is a new compensation scheme to sit by the side of the statutory blight process, which is to streamline the process.

Broadly, this uses averages of red book valuations and fixed payments to try to make matters more formulaic. One of the other proposed changes of interest is to amend the Need to Sell (NTS) scheme.

NTS arguably helps those in most need as the property owners concerned have the need to sell. Here, the government buys the property for full open-market value if there is a compelling reason to sell and due to HS2 there would be a loss.

The proposed change to NTS means that a property owner could instead opt to sell on the open market rather than to the government, but would be paid a further set payment on top from the government that incentivises this.

We await detail on the level of the incentive payment but it should mean more money for the property owner. These proposals and the consultation are welcome, as while HS2 is a key part of the levelling-up agenda, the compensation regime has meant many have felt trampled on.

Please contribute your bright ideas to the consultation to help reduce the 12 rounds of pugilism others may face.

Darren Williamson is partner and national head of real estate at Freeths