Planning Resource: Ministers agree to delete regeneration power from HS2 bill

Clause 48 of the HS2 Phase One Hybrid Bill would confer on the secretary of state power to acquire land by compulsory purchase if he or she considers “that the construction or operation of Phase One of High Speed 2 gives rise to the opportunity for regeneration or development of any land”.

But a report published last month by the House of Lords Select Committee for HS2 said that the power is “indeed very wide” and should be deleted from the bill.

In its response to the select committee’s report, published today, the government said that it would not seek to reintroduce the provision.

“The onus must therefore lie with local authorities to ensure that opportunities for regeneration arising from Phase One of HS2 are not missed due to any failure to use their own similar powers under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 or to work collaboratively across boundaries,” the government’s response said.

In its response, the government also said it accepted the select committee’s argument that households in Camden and other urban areas should be eligible for enhanced compensation.

The select committee’s report had found that the government’s non-statutory scheme to compensate homeowners affected by the rail scheme “does not at present strike a fair balance between town and country residents, mainly because it is based on the incorrect assumption that it is inconvenience and disruption during the operational phase that is the sole or main grievance for those who live close to the line of the route”.

The government’s response said that “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″ should be offered compensation “in addition to any statutory remedy for which they may be eligible”.

The report added: “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.”

Government response to HS2 Phase One hybrid Bill Lords Select Committee report is available here.