HS2 is facing paying compensation to people and businesses in almost 1,300 properties along its revised route through South Yorkshire, an expert report has suggested.
Campaigners have accused high-speed rail bosses of downplaying the impact of the so-called ‘M18 route’ after current official estimates said just 51 properties on the route were due to be affected – a number that only takes account of those directly due to be demolished on the intended line.
But a recent report commissioned by Sheffield City Region bosses and conducted by engineering firm SNC Lavalin has estimated the number of homes and businesses in South Yorkshire that could claim some form of compensation for being within 300m of the route at 1,295.
HS2 Ltd assisted with providing information for the SNC Lavalin report together but says it had been not asked to formally respond to its findings.
According to the report, over 200 of the properties are within 60m of the planned track inside so-called ‘safeguarding zones’ – meaning homeowners are eligible for compensation totalling the cost of their house plus an additional 10 per cent of its value.
With the route running from the Mansfield area up to Wakefield, campaigners say the true number of properties where compensation could be claimed is likely to be far higher as the engineering report only focuses the South Yorkshire section.
The whole of the Shimmer Estate in Mexborough has been included in a safeguarding zone, covering around 130 occupied properties - but HS2 Ltd are only earmarking 16 properties for demolition at this stage because design plans are subject to change.
Major changes have been made to the intended HS2 route through South Yorkshire after rail bosses scrapped plans for a new station by Meadowhall shopping centre in favour of a ‘spur’ into Sheffield city centre - a decision officials claim will save hundreds of millions of pounds and affect fewer houses and businesses.
Presentation slides shown by HS2 officials to residents in Bramley in December and seen by The Yorkshire Post also show it suggested around 600 properties are within 100m of the intended M18 route.
HS2 Ltd say the 51 figure is an accurate reflection of the “very early design stage” for the route but accept there are a greater number of properties that will be able to claim compensation.
A HS2 spokesperson said: “We are at the very early stages of the hybrid Bill development and will be sharing more detailed design plans with communities as they develop.
“HS2 is holding a series of information events across the region next month to address any questions from communities following the route announcement in July. Just under 20,000 people attended our events earlier in the year, so we know this is a really effective way of engaging with local communities.”
Chris Matthewman, chairman of the Bramley HS2 Action Group, which is campaigning against the route, said HS2 “are not being straight with the public” while South Yorkshire, which is not getting a dedicated HS2 station under the current plans, is missing out on the potential economic benefits of high-speed rail.
“All we are getting is a lot of property destruction that the Government is going to have pay an absolute fortune in compensation for,” he said.