More than a billion pounds could be paid out in compensation to homeowners, tenants and businesses affected by the planned high speed rail line between Birmingham and London, Ministers have announced.
Ministers set out a “generous” compensation package - and admitted some residents living close to the line would suffer “unwelcome” noise and vibration.
A total of 528 properties will need to be demolished to build the line, which will provide services running at 225mph and include two stations in the West Midlands - one in Birmingham city centre and one near Birmingham Airport.
These will be bought by the Government at their market value plus ten per cent, effectively giving owners compensation of ten per cent of their property value up to a maximum of £47,000.
The value will also be adjusted upwards if the property price has already fallen because of plans for the new rail line, to ensure homeowners and businesses don’t suffer the effects of blight.
Another 573 properties within 60 metres of the track will be eligible for the same package, if their owners choose to sell.
And the owners of another 780 homes within 120 metres of the track will also be invited to sell their homes to the Government for the full value, although they will not be eligible for the extra 10 per cent compensation.
Tenants may also be eligible for compensation of £4,700 if their landlord sells their home.
Opponents of the high speed line, known as HS2, have focused on the possible impact on the countryside in areas such as Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, and in Staffordshire where the line continues north of Birmingham.
However, it will also affect some properties in Birmingham as the line comes in to the city from Birmingham Airport, to the east of the city, through Castle Bromwich, Washwood Heath and Saltley into the Eastside area of the city centre, where it will terminate at a new station near Curzon Street. The effect will be limited because the line will follow existing transport corridors, running alongside the M42, M6 and existing rail track.
The Government expects to pay out between £930 million and £1.3 billion, Ministers said.
Rail minister Simon Burns said: “HS2 will completely transform the UK. It will define our country, not just for the 21st century but beyond – linking our major cities in a way previous generations could only dream of.
“No major infrastructure project on this scale can be built without some impact on local communities, but I am determined to do everything I can to minimise the effect of HS2 on those closest to the line.
“We have developed the right compensation package, providing absolutely the right support for those affected, while at the same time protecting the interests of taxpayers. We have thought long and hard about this and the measures I have announced are fair and strike the right balance for local communities and the British taxpayer.”
The compensation package covers the first stage of the line, from London to Birmingham. The £32 billion network will eventually extend to Leeds and Manchester.