Michael Fabricant has written to the Secretary of State for Transport in advance of his detailed response to the Department for Transport’s compensation consultation, calling on the Government to adopt ‘property bonds’.
Michael explains: “Property bonds give assurance to home and other property owners along the route of HS2 that they will receive a guaranteed minimum amount for their property if they were to sell it. The valuation for the bond would be undertaken on the basis of the property’s value had it not been blighted by the HS2 route. The Government would underwrite the value set for the property, making up the shortfall if it sells for less.”
In his letter to the Secretary of State, Patrick McLoughlin, Michael has written:-
The Government’s consultation on High Speed 2 property consultation provides an important opportunity for my constituents and parliamentary colleagues to contribute to this important debate. As you will know, the property bond scheme is receiving a high degree of attention as part of this process.
I appreciate that the Government believes that the property bond scheme has no precedent in the public sector; that it could increase hardship for property owners; that a lack of boundaries to such a scheme could undermine the wider property market; and the scheme could open taxpayers up to unacceptable costs and risks.
Despite this, the property bond scheme continues to receive widespread support: from the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the National Association of Estate Agents, the National Farmers’ Union, and the High Speed 2 Action Alliance among others. Also, as the consultation paper itself admits, the private sector has devised such a scheme in the past for proposed new runways at Heathrow and Stansted, and Central Railways in relation to a new freight railway. I therefore do not accept that the scheme is impractical.
HS2 Action Alliance, in particular, believes that such a scheme would provide stability to the property market and could act as an indemnity scheme for property owners. A property bond could support local communities and local economies and ensure that High Speed 2 does not adversely affect those people who will not directly benefit from the project.
I do now ask for a commitment from the Government to reconsider its policy on the property bond and to explain in greater detail why it is against this important contribution to the High Speed 2 property compensation debate. I hope the Government might change its mind and adopt this bond which will give reassurance to my constituents and others along the route of HS2.
The HS2 Compensation Roadshow in Lichfield last Friday (18th January) was itself blighted by heavy snow which prevented people from attending. “I was able to walk from my home in Lichfield”, Michael says “but I know that others who wanted to attend from Whittington and Kings Bromley were unable to get there. There were not many people in the Guildhall when I visited.
“So today (21st January) I have written to Alison Munro, the managing director of HS2, asking that they repeat the roadshow in Lichfield as a matter of urgency as the Government’s consultation closes at the end of the month.”