The government’s preferred route for HS2 north of Birmingham will adversely affect 3,500 fewer households outside London than the original plans, thanks to changes to the Sheffield section of the route, new research has shown.
According to environmental consultant Groundsure, 11,000 fewer people outside London live within 1km of the new proposed route, which was announced last week and included seven changes to the government’s original plans.
The fall is largely due to planned changes to the Sheffield portion of the route. The government’s preference is for HS2 to run east of Sheffield, with a separate branch taking passengers to the city centre. Previously the plan was for HS2 to either run directly through the city or for a new station to be constructed at the Meadowhall shopping centre on its outskirts.
According to the Groundsure research, the changes mean that 31,000 fewer people and 12,000 fewer properties will be affected, although it stressed the figures were approximate. The new plans, which are still subject to a formal consultation, will also save around £1bn.
However, the reduced impact on Sheffield households will be offset in part by a greater adverse impact elsewhere in the north of England.
Around 20,000 more people – and 8,500 households – live within 1km of the northern section of the route compared with the original plans, according to Groundsure. In total, 990,000 people and 420,000 dwellings lie within 1km of the amended route.
‘Uncertainty and additional risks’
Groundsure managing director Dan Montagnani said the constant changes to HS2 had created “uncertainty and additional risks” for buyers looking for homes in the area.
“The seven additional amends that were announced last week are again not provided in a readily accessible format, leaving homebuyers in the dark,” he said.
“Potential homebuyers and their conveyancers should be extra vigilant that the information they are receiving is current to avoid unexpected disruption and potential impacts that may adversely affect the value of their property.”
Announcing the changes last week, transport secretary Chris Grayling said he “felt desperately sorry” for those residents affected. Compensation payments would begin immediately, he said, including a premium on the prices paid for homes subject to compulsory purchase orders.
The first phase of HS2 will link London and Birmingham and is due to open in 2026. The second phase, which is expected to be completed by 2033, will run both from Birmingham to Scotland via Manchester and from Birmingham to Newcastle via Sheffield and Leeds.