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High Speed Two

The High Speed 2 (HS2) railway project is the government’s flagship infrastructure project: a high speed railway network which links three major cities - London, Birmingham and Manchester. However you may be affected by the HS2 proposals, we can advise you on your options and how to improve your position.

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Planning, Infrastructure and Regeneration

What is HS2?

The High Speed 2 (HS2) railway project is the government’s flagship infrastructure project: a high speed railway network which links three major cities – London, Birmingham and Manchester. At the end of 2021, or in early 2022, the government will ask Parliament to give it the necessary powers to build the next phase of HS2, between Crewe and Manchester. A ’hybrid bill‘ will give the government powers to construct and maintain the railway, as well as powers of compulsory purchase over all the required land.

Third parties who are affected by the railway or the compulsory powers will be able to raise objections by ’petitioning‘ against the Bill, and have them heard by Parliament before the scheme is approved.

How we can help

BDB Pitmans has a large team of experienced lawyers with expertise in compensation, compulsory purchase and land agreements, as well as Parliamentary procedure and practice. This includes four ’Parliamentary Agents‘ – lawyers who are exclusively authorised by Parliament to work on private and hybrid bills. We have negotiated many agreements with HS2 Limited for property owners and businesses to date.

However you may be affected by the HS2 proposals, we can advise you on your options and how to improve your position.

HS2 Phase 2b

Phase 1 (London to Birmingham) and Phase 2a (West Midlands to Crewe) of the HS2 project have already been authorised by Parliament. Phase One is now under construction and the required land is in the process of being acquired.

The government has carried out several consultations on the next phase, known as HS2 Phase 2b, which has included design refinement and the working draft environmental statement.

The land has already been ‘safeguarded’ by the Secretary of State, which restricts planning permissions on the land and entitles qualifying land owners to serve statutory blight notices on the Secretary of State requiring the purchase of their land.

Once the hybrid bill has been introduced in Parliament, affected parties will be able to have their say by commenting on the environmental statement that will accompany the bill, and also by ‘petitioning’ against it and appearing before a select committee to present their case to Parliament.

Case studies

We acted for over 100 petitioners against the Crossrail Bill, the last major hybrid bill before HS2, and for numerous petitioners against the HS2 Phase 1 and 2a Bills.

Our clients range from individual landowners to significant commercial undertakings, local authorities and charities.

Our HS2 experience includes:

Appearing before the select committee in Parliament

  • We represented numerous affected parties in the House of Commons and House of Lords on both Phase 1 and Phase 2a.

Objecting to compulsory acquisition

  • We acted for a charity which operates a substantial showground facility which would be affected by HS2. We negotiated the provision of replacement land, appeared before the select committee in the House of Commons and negotiated a series of assurances from the promoter to ensure that the client’s operations could continue during construction works.
  • We acted for a business which was seeking to bring forward a major development on land it had assembled to the west of London. HS2 sought to relocate the Heathrow Express train depot facilities onto our client’s land. We negotiated protections, maximising the value of the land retained and minimising HS2 interference during construction.
  • We acted for a golf club threatened with the sudden noise of passing trains and the loss of a hole and fairway, making competition and ordinary play impossible. We negotiated noise mitigation and a course reconfiguration at HS2’s expense.
  • We acted for a major zoological charity to protect a rare and sensitive hedgehog population from the impacts of construction.
  • We advised an aggregates company who were threatened by the acquisition of a site in its land bank for future minerals extraction. At a late stage in the development of the HS2 scheme, HS2 decided it needed the land for ecological mitigation. We negotiated an undertaking with HS2 to protect our client’s interests.
  • We acted for a performance venue threatened with major long-term works very close to their building. We negotiated terms with HS2 to safeguard the continuation of their business and public access to it.
  • We advised the owner of a repairs and storage business operating on land required for an HS2 worksite, and assisted in negotiating down HS2’s excessive land requirements.
  • We acted for a specialist film studio facing major construction activities all around them. We secured special mitigation for the impact of HS2 noise and vibration on their sensitive activities.

Business relocations

  • We acted for a Premier League football club whose academy training facility is significantly affected by HS2. We appeared before the select committee in the House of Lords and subsequently negotiated a multi-million pound agreement to secure a partial relocation and reconfiguration of the facility to enable its continued use following construction of the railway.
  • We advised a leading healthcare and education services provider which operates a specialist facility for children with learning disabilities and which will be severely affected by HS2. We secured a commitment from HS2 to safeguard an alternative site for the facility and negotiated an extensive agreement to secure the relocation of the current facility in advance of HE construction works. The agreement also included a sale and leaseback mechanism in relation to the existing facility.
  • We advised various businesses affected by HS2’s works including repositioning of overhead transmission lines. We negotiated an undertaking to ensure that the businesses could continue to function with minimal disturbance.

Local authorities and other statutory bodies

  • We have acted for local authorities along all phases of HS2, including the host authorities of proposed stations in the West Midlands, Greater Manchester and Yorkshire.
  • We acted for a local authority objecting to HS2’s acquisition of land earmarked for a housing project. We negotiated a series of agreements protecting the council including a financial contribution to assist with mitigation measures.
  • We acted for the Canal and River Trust on its petitions against the Phase 1 and Phase 2a bills, instructed counsel to appear before select committees and negotiated agreements with the promoter.
  • We acted for the Woodland Trust in connection with its appearance before the select committee and in negotiating assurances with the promoter.
  • We are acting for a statutory harbour undertaker in relation to Phase 2b which crosses a canal that it maintains.

Land acquisition/compensation (including blight)

  • We advised the successful claimants in proceedings to establish the validity of a blight notice that was being resisted by HS2 (Craddock v Secretary of State for Transport [2021] UKUT 0002 (LC)).
  • We acted for a landowner who negotiated an agreement with HS2 under which the project would acquire the whole of the client’s site, instead of leaving an uneconomic residue.
  • We acted for a leading agricultural charity in relation to compensation matters arising from the compulsory acquisition of land for HS2.
  • We acted for a statutory body which owns a historic listed building to which access would be impaired as a result of HS2.