HS2 Phase Two – Refined route to be announced later this year

The proposals for Phase Two of High Speed 2 may appear to have taken a back seat during recent months, as the focus has been on the Phase One Select Committee hearings.  However, landowners and businesses who may be affected by the proposed routes to Leeds and Manchester would be well advised to keep a keen eye on developments and be ready to engage in the process sooner rather than later.

The Phase Two route consultation process closed last December and an announcement about amendments to the route is due to be made in Autumn of this year.  I’m aware of a number of significant changes currently going through the design process, and I understand the design teams involved have been surprised at just how many areas have been the subject of proposed amendments, particularly on the eastern leg between Toton and Leeds.

One of the highest profile potential changes relates to the proposed out of town Meadowhall location of the Sheffield station, which has been the subject of political lobbying aimed at moving it to the city centre.  That would require the alignment to be amended a number of miles north and south of Sheffield and would affect a larger area of the city itself.  As with Phase  One, it would be no surprise if additional tunnelling were announced as a result of the consultation exercise, but I’m not holding my breath for new stations at Stoke or Nottingham, as has been called for in some quarters (primarily in Nottingham and Stoke!).

It will be interesting to see how quickly the Phase Two Hybrid Bill is prepared following the announcement of the route amendments.  Sir David Higgins has made clear his intention for the section between Lichfield and Crewe to be constructed within a similar timeframe to that of Phase One, which is set to open in 2026, but that section is unlikely to be promoted by way of a separate Hybrid Bill.  Given the Phase Two route is not yet fixed or safeguarded, it is difficult to see how the Phase Two Bill will be anything less than two years behind its predecessor, but that doesn’t mean that landowners and businesses should sit back and wait to see what happens.

Although the formal route consultation process has closed there is no reason why landowners should not be seeking meetings with HS2 Limited over the next few months, to discuss the proposals and seek to influence land requirements and project design, even if they do not submit a consultation response.  We have always advocated early engagement and landowners should not be discouraged from engaging just because we are not currently within a formal consultation period.

Gateley Hamer are currently representing a number of developers, businesses and rural landowners affected by Phase Two.  We are advising clients on how mitigation measures can be achieved through negotiation with HS2 Ltd and recommending steps to be taken to protect their compensation entitlement through, for example, ensuring that interests in property are properly registered and business accounts are effectively managed so that any losses which may be suffered as a consequence of HS2 are capable of being demonstrated.

If you are interested in finding out how our team may be able to assist you, please contact Jonathan Stott, Director of Compulsory Purchase by email at jonathan@gateleyhamer.com or by telephone on 0121 212 0002.

Gateley Hamer is one of a small number of surveying practices to have agreed a fee memorandum with HS2 Limited, which means that the majority of our fees will be paid directly by HS2 Limited.