Keeping things safe

The Property & Compensation Consultation, part 1

The folks at HS2 Ltd are really big on drawing lines on maps and have just issued a whole new set for our delectation. These maps are designed to inform the public consultation on the proposed HS2 property compensation provisions.

The maps introduce us to two concepts: the “safeguarding zone” and the “voluntary purchase zone”. If your property is located within either of these two zones it has considerable significance for any compensation to which you may be entitled, and so I think that it may be helpful to spend a couple of blogs investigating what these two terms mean, starting with the safeguarding zone in this present blog.

There is a straightforward and concise explanation of what “safeguarding” is in the Introduction to the document High Speed Two: Safeguarding for London – West Midlands, Consultation:

“In order to protect the planned railway corridor from conflicting development before construction starts, the Government is proposing to safeguard the London to West Midlands route using safeguarding directions, which are an established tool of the planning system designed for this purpose. Safeguarding aims to ensure that new developments along the route do not impact on the ability to build or operate HS2 or lead to excessive additional costs. Safeguarding directions, if adopted, will be issued to Local Planning Authorities (LPAs), by the Secretary of State for Transport. LPAs will then need to consult HS2 Ltd with regard to planning applications in the safeguarded corridor along the HS2 route before granting consent.”

At its simplest, the safeguarding zone is a strip of land extending 60 metres either side of the proposed centre line of the HS2 tracks, as illustrated by the example below showing a section of the route near to my own village of Cubbington.

Example of basic safeguarding zone (source: HS2 Ltd)

On this map the limit of the safeguarding zone is marked by a red broken line and the whole area of the zone is indicated by grey shading. More precisely, the grey shaded area indicates the “area of surface interest”, because different requirements apply for bored tunnels, a subject that I will cover in my next blog.

In section 1 of the document HS2 Safeguarding and Property & Compensation maps: general notes on draft safeguarded area, the choice of a 120 metre wide zone is justified:

“At the current level of design, any safeguarding is, by necessity, an estimation of likely future requirements. As such, the proposed ‘default’ or ‘standard’ distance reflects HS2 Ltd’s judgement, at this stage in the development of the project, of our typical engineering and planning need for land to build and operate the railway. It includes the land and property which HS2 Ltd currently believes will need to be acquired for the scheme, plus additional land that we consider may need to be used in some way, either permanently or temporarily. HS2 Ltd considers the proposed standard distance to offer the best balance between the need to protect land and property for construction and operational purposes, and the legitimate rights of land owners not to have their right to develop infringed unnecessarily.

“A narrower zone would run a significantly higher risk that some subsequent developments would interfere with HS2 Ltd’s needs. A wider zone would place a greater restriction on development without significantly reducing the risks to the project.”

In some places the safeguarding zone extends beyond the simple 120 metre wide strip. An example is reproduced below, again showing an area near to my home village. Here the additional grey-shaded area is required for the planned diversion of a road to build a new section on embankment and a bridge over the HS2 trackway.

Example of safeguarding zone extension (source: HS2 Ltd)

Clarifications of circumstances in which such extensions to the safeguarding zone have been employed are given in HS2 Safeguarding and Property & Compensation maps: general notes on draft safeguarded area. Some examples, and the sections of the document in which they appear, are given below:

  • “Construction sites beyond the standard width have been included where they can be identified with a degree of certainty at this stage.” (section 2)
  • “Consequential road modifications have been included, though they reflect preliminary designs only and may be subject to future revision.” (section 3)
  • “Likely sites of additional infrastructure such as national grid feeder stations or maintenance loops, have not all been identified at this stage.” (section 4)
  • “Safeguarding has not typically been adjusted to account for environmental sites. (section 5)”
  • “Access roads (e.g. for construction purposes) have been included on a case-by-case basis. Access roads for construction purposes have been included where it is considered that the absence of that point of access could cause significant difficulties. This is aimed at ensuring that HS2 Ltd would be informed of any alterations to the road layout that could affect access to a site.” (section 8)
  • “Land has not usually been included on the other side of an existing operational railway.” (section 9)
  • “Other mitigation measures such as additional landscaping or accommodation works have not been accounted for in the safeguarding mapping process.” (section 10)
  • “Maps relate almost entirely to phase 1, but include interface with phase 2, provided that the relevant element has been published, and it is reasonable and proportionate to do so.” (section 11)
  • “Most cuttings do not require a divergence from the default safeguarding corridor of 120m.” (section 12)
  • “Where it is likely that additional tracks will be necessary alongside the standard 2 tracks, additional land has been included to allow for this.” (section 13)
  • “The alignment used as the basis for the safeguarding is predominantly the one published in January 2012, but does reflect some design work that has taken place since then.” (section 14)

In the next blog I will examine the safeguarding provisions for bored tunnels and describe the additional zone (the voluntary purchase zone) that HS2 Ltd has defined for compensation purposes.

Acknowledgement: The Ordinance Survey mapping upon which the HS2 Ltd safeguarding details are overlaid has been reproduced in accordance with the principles of fair dealing as set out in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.  On this basis, this mapping is:

Reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO.

© Crown Copyright. All rights reserved.

Unfortunately some of the documents referred to in this blog are no longer hosted on the HS2 Ltd website, and so some of the links no longer function.

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by chriseaglen on December 29, 2012 at 11:39 am

    The same form of analysis is required for safeguarding which is a one sided approach not a community safguarding for all on an even handed basis. Not just safeguarding because after powers and the project is in hand with a rail operator the Transport Works Orders and additions to Hybrid Bill provide the open door for more additions and changes.

    Reply

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