HS2 & East West Payment Scheme 'Unfair & Confusing' Say Campaigners

HS2 & East West Payment Scheme 'Unfair & Confusing' Say Campaigners

Published by the Mix96 News Team at 2:01pm 15th June 2015.

Campaigners are calling for a fairer system for people whose land is being bought to build HS2 through Buckinghamshire.

The CLA are arguing that Compulsary Purchase, as it's know, can be too complicated and doesn't always mean people get paid.

Their Regional Director Robin Edwards told us it's affecting local businesses:

"Businesses are almost in standstill because you don't want to put money in because you're not sure whether HS2 is coming or not coming.

"You can't sell your property because who wants to buy a property that potentially HS2 is coming to?"

The group says the system, which is used for the delivery of major infrastructure projects such as HS2, road schemes and other infrastructure, is inherently unfair to individual farmers and landowners and leads to extended periods of uncertainty, hardship negotiation and dispute.

This can cause delays and costs in delivery of projects, a fact acknowledged by the Chancellor in March when he began consultation on reform.

The CLA, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, continues to lead the campaign for reform. It made its latest call in a submission to the Treasury consultation which closed on the 9 June, and the new Government must now decide how to take this consultation forward into law.

Robin added:

"Now is the time to put in place compulsory purchase rules that are fit for the 21st century and that recognise the impact of these schemes on farmers, landowners and rural businesses. Currently these businesses face years of terrible uncertainty and bitter disputes, but much of this can be avoided by placing them at the centre of the decision making process rather than ancillary to that process.

"If this issue is not addressed, many of the major infrastructure projects can only be delivered in the timeframes set out in the National Infrastructure Plan by riding roughshod over individuals and small businesses, causing huge financial loss and unfathomable emotional stress.

"The proposals set out in this consultation are a welcome step towards a clearer, fairer and faster process. Now it is up to the Government to act quickly and enact legislation so that companies like HS2 Ltd are obligated to treat individual landowners and farmers more fairly."

The Government consultation proposes compulsory purchase reforms designed to ensure that all parties are better informed, that acquiring authorities take a more positive negotiating stance with landowners, pay proper compensation and enable advance payments to be claimed easier and earlier.

It also proposes paying interest on unpaid compensation after entry, which has not been the case for many years, and a clear process to enable decisions to be made to a known timetable.

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