‘HS2 compensation a sham’, say village residents

Susi Kakkar with Alan and Edna Small and Jo and Andrew Mason Church Fenton. Picture: Gerard Binks. GB1001/25h
Susi Kakkar with Alan and Edna Small and Jo and Andrew Mason Church Fenton. Picture: Gerard Binks. GB1001/25h

The fight against HS2 in a Tadcaster area village has reached a new level with the announcement of a compensation package.

Residents of Church Fenton, where a phase of the high speed trainline could be built, have called the government’s offer a ‘sham’ and slammed the consultation as ‘unfair’ and ‘upsetting’.

Parish council chair and leader of the local Stop HS2 action group Jo Mason told the Wetherby News that, of the 4,900 people consulted, almost 4,800 did not agree with compensation proposals.

She said: “It is so upsetting because it is so unfair. You feel there should be someone to complain to about this, but we are dealing with the government.

“In Church Fenton people will not get compensation for their losses. My house is just 200 metres away from the proposed line and the government, under these proposals, would offer me £7,500.

“I am fortunate enough to live in a very nice house that we have worked hard on for many years and we have lost 20 to 30 per cent of the value of the house, which is between £200,000 and £300,000.

“The government is basically lying when it says it is full and fair. It is absolutely nowhere near full compensation and it is absolutely not fair. We are fighting this because we feel the consultation is completely unjust.”

According to the Department for Transport (DfT), homeowners within 60 to 120 metres of the proposed rail line can submit an application for HS2 Ltd to purchase their home for its full value or stay and receive 10 per cent.

Those beyond 120 metres but within 300 metres in rural areas will be able to apply for a homeowner payment ranging from £7,500 to £22,500.

A DfT spokesman said: “The compensation and assistance package for property owners along the London to Birmingham HS2 route goes well beyond legal requirements and includes purchasing properties at their full, unblighted market value. This package strikes the right balance between helping people and our wider responsibility to the taxpayer.

“No decisions have yet been made on the compensation and assistance for the Phase Two route, which will pass through Yorkshire, but the measures in place for Phase One will be the starting point.”

In a letter to HS2 Ltd chairman Sir David Higgins, Selby and Ainsty MP Nigel Adams raised several of his own questions with the compensation and invited Sir David to the area to hear residents’ concerns.