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New rail battles will all be about compensation.

Charles Oliver Con?rmation that the HS2 is to go ahead will disappoint those who have campaigned against the scheme.

Though that battle may have been lost, there are still more to come in the future, particularly as home and land owners get to grips with how they will be affected and what steps they can take towards compensation.

Knight Frank, which has a dedicated HS2 Team, has produced a series of Google Earth-based videos that give a bird's eyeview of the route, to aid land and property owners who had been busy scanning two dimensional maps.

Michael McCullough, head of mapping at Knight Frank, said: "Our website has received an astonishing number of additional visitors - more than 15,000 - since HS2 was given the go-ahead. Property owners are understandably concerned about the impact of this controversial scheme, so hopefully these new maps will allow them to get a more thorough understanding of its potential impact."

To see the video look up www.knight Frank.

co.uk/rural-property/hs2.aspx James del Mar, head of Knight Frank's HS2 Team, said that while people's thoughts might have turned to the issue of compensation, at this early stage there was "no mechanism" in place to go about claiming it.

"We have a settled intention, we do not yet have, in the legal sense, 'a scheme'.

"This means that, other than the Exceptional Hardship Scheme (EHS), there is still no mechanism by which those adversely affected can claim compensation - although there are helpful indications that further voluntary compensation measures will be established, and we await the details of those.

"Once the route has been 'Safeguarded', the process by which the Government prevents planning permission being granted along the route, the provisions of Statutory Blight apply. This is due to take place in the autumn.

"We very much hope that the other voluntary schemes will also be in place by then, or earlier."

Charles Oliver, a director of Caxtons Chartered Surveyors in the South East, knows only too well what homeowners in the Home Counties and West Midlands are going through now.

The .rm was actively involved with residents in rural Kent when the .rst highspeed rail link was built between London and Folkstone and onwards through the Channel Tunnel to France, where millions of pounds in compensation was recouped.

He said: "We have seen the effect of HS1 on properties through Kent and the many issues that arise.

''Some properties are lost, many have land taken, businesses are disrupted and, in some cases, are forced to move.

"There are several key points the homeowner needs to consider "If you own a property on the line of the railway and the whole of that property will be acquired, you may be able to claim for the market value. If you occupy the property you may also claim for the cost of moving. If you own a property but only part of it is to be taken, you may claim for the value of the part taken and any reduction in value of the part of the property that you keep.

"If you are next to the line of the railway but none of your land is to be taken, in a few cases you may be able to claim for disturbance while the railway is being built. ''You may also be entitled to compensation for disturbance due to the use of the railway when it is ?nished,'' Mr Oliver said. "If you need to move house between now and the beginning of the scheme, then you may be able to serve a blight notice during this period when the shadow of the scheme is hanging over your property, causing values to drop.

"This brings forward the compulsory purchase for your property so that it has to be purchased earlier than the Government may have planned.

"These are just a few examples of situations which will arise as work begins. ''The cost of expert advice on compensation, compulsory purchase, blight and other issues faced by property owners who may be affected should be paid for by the Department of Transport."

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James Powell, Justine Borman Below: Nigel Lewis, David Surtees-Dawson, Rob Champion, George Philip
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jan 19, 2012
Words:700
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