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UK Government urged to address concerns about high speed rail route asap

Uncertainty about the final route for the high speed rail route going north in England has caused concern for home owners and buyers, new research shows.

The conveyancing industry is calling on the Government to address the concerns as soon as possible in 2017 with little confidence so far in the consultation process.

Almost half of property conveyancers in the UK believe that the consultation for the changed HS2 high speed rail route has been poor, with 14% saying it was of extremely low quality and caused concern.

Overall 48% thought it was poor and a further 34% said the HS2 consultation was not a great process and none of those surveyed felt the consultation inspired confidence.

The findings from research release by Groundsure follows the Government’s announcement in November outlining the third set of amends affecting the new route for the second phase of the high speed rail line.

A proposed route was first published in 2013 for the northern part of HS2, but a review of the programme and debate over the location of stations has meant that plans have been delayed by almost two years.

The report explains that home buyers rely upon reports from their conveyancer for information on the proximity of their new home to the proposed HS2 route, but the conveyancers are in turn reliant upon the most up to date information being made available.

Groundsure’s research suggests that this process is not happening as efficiently as it might. ‘Home buying is already difficult and costly, particularly following recent changes to stamp duty and market uncertainty around Brexit,’ said Eddie Goldsmith, chairman of the Conveyancing Association.

‘But it is important that those home buyers use environment searches to bring confidence and certainty to, what is likely to be, their largest financial investment. It seems unfair on those homebuyers who are referring to the most accurate report available, that the HS2 route information cannot provide certainty,’ he added.

According to Dan Montagnani, managing director at Groundsure, the Government’s consultation for the changed HS2 route has been a great cause for concern and stress for those living along the proposed route.

‘While the last set of changes to the Sheffield section of the route could mean adverse impact for 3,500 fewer households, the continued uncertainty is also having a significant impact on the conveyancing trade,’ he pointed out.

James Sherwood-Rogers, chairman of Council of Property Search Organisations (Copso), explained that important home buying decisions for thousands of people stand to be affected.

‘The final route could have a significant impact on nearby properties, and mortgage companies may be wary of lending until the route is finalised. Uncertainty about the route needs to be addressed as soon as possible in 2017,’ he added.