End of HS2 safeguarding frees land for desperately needed homes

Propertymark has welcomed the UK Government’s decision to lift safeguarding directions along the former HS2 route between the West Midlands and Crewe, which means HS2 limited will no longer object to proposed development in the area.


HS2 Ltd has informed Propertymark that letters have been sent to owners of all relevant properties explaining what the announcement will mean for them and their property.

When Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, MP, scrapped the Birmingham to Manchester portion of the high-speed rail line in October 2023, citing costs and claiming funding will be diverted to other projects, Propertymark called for the UK Government to act quickly to communicate with the individuals and businesses affected to make their options clear.

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In his written statement to Parliament, the Transport Secretary Mark Harper, MP, said more details would be released soon on what would happen to properties bought for the scheme that were no longer needed.

For areas where safeguarding has been removed, the Rural Support Zone, Extended Homeowner Protection Zone and Homeowner Payment schemes have now been closed although existing applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

The Need to Sell scheme remains open as a safety net, for those who meet the criteria and have a compelling need to sell, until the blighting effect of HS2 has fully receded.

Work is now underway on lifting safeguarding for land between Crewe and Manchester, which is expected to happen by the summer of 2024.

Compensation claims may be considered

At the time the cancellation was announced, the Transport Secretary ruled out new compensation for people who had already been paid for their properties along the northern part of the route.

However, the UK Government has now indicated it will consider claims from homeowners forced to sell to HS2 amid claims from MPs that people are being “intimidated” not to raise the issue.

Huw Merriman, MP, Minister for Transport, stated that owners who have sold properties, often unwillingly, should have full recompense as soon as possible, although he cautioned that each property transaction is unique and presents its own set of circumstances.

This country desperately needs more homes, and these changes will now allow for more developments to take place as well as giving people living along the former HS2 route certainty.

Propertymark commends the UK Government’s commitment to begin selling properties acquired by HS2 Ltd that are no longer needed, alongside the commitment to keep the Need to Sell programme open.

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Nathan Emerson CEO | Propertymark