A couple who believe their home has been grossly undervalued by HS2 are launching a landmark legal case against the company running the controversial rail scheme.
Trevor and Justine Palin say their house is worth at least £60,000 more than HS2 has offered to pay for it under a compulsory purchase order for the proposed line.
The couple are planning to take the company to the High Court in a case which could pave the way for hundreds of other homeowners in a similar situation to take legal action.
Trevor and Justine Palin say they had their 150-year-old cottage in Knutsford, Cheshire, was valued at £485,000 but HS2 offered just £400,000. They decided to begin a crowdfunding appeal to raise money to take HS2 Ltd to a lands tribunal at the High Court
The development comes just days after it was reported Ministers are planning to axe the project for high-speed trains between London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield because of the spiralling cost.
Already more than £5.5 billion has been spent on the scheme and critics fear that it will eventually exceed the projected £56 billion budget.
The Palins’ 150-year-old cottage, set amid idyllic countryside in Knutsford, Cheshire, is located directly on phase two of the rail line, due to run from Crewe to Manchester. The couple first learned in 2013 that their home was to be demolished as part of the line’s construction.
The Palins say they had it valued at £485,000 but HS2 offered just £400,000.
HS2 has since ‘grudgingly’ raised their offer to £440,000, but Mr Palin, a commercial photographer, says the cottage is now worth at least £500,000. HS2’s compulsory purchase order rules say it should pay what would have been the market value if there had been no scheme plus ten per cent further compensation and expenses.
Mr Palin, 52, said the stress of the six-year battle with HS2 has caused him to have a nervous breakdown and be placed on medication by his doctor.
He said: ‘We’re not Nimbys, and we appreciate the need for a rail link. HS2 has blocked us at every turn and offered us low valuations.’
Business consultant Mrs Palin, 50, said their two teenage children had also suffered because of the situation. She said: ‘The kids should have been having an idyllic upbringing in the country. Instead, they’ve lived under this awful shadow for six years.’
The development comes just days after it was reported Ministers are planning to axe the project for high-speed trains between London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield because of the spiralling cost [File photo]
The Palins say HS2 told them their final option was to resort to an ‘alternative dispute resolution’ where an independent panel of experts would determine the worth of the property – but the family would have to cover the £8,000 cost of the process.
They refused and instead decided to begin a crowdfunding appeal to raise money to take HS2 Ltd to a lands tribunal at the High Court.
Last night, the Palins’ solicitor Tony Houghton said: ‘Every single property offer negotiated by HS2, where people are not happy with the valuation, could be re-examined and potentially revalued as result.
‘We could have hundreds of homeowners coming forward.’
An HS2 spokesman said: ‘We are committed to paying fair and reasonable compensation to affected parties, and seek a fair deal for both the claimants and the taxpayer in all cases.’
To assist in the couple’s legal bid, click here: