The subject of a new high-speed rail link (HS2) between the North and South of England is something of a political hot potato at the moment with concerns that property prices are being impacted in some of the more affluent areas of the country. One such area which appears to be under threat from HS2 is the stockbroker belt of Hale Barns in the Altrincham area.
This is reflective of a number of other high net worth areas across the UK, near to the government’s preferred route for HS2. While there is no doubt that this incredibly fast rail link would have a major impact upon business going forward, the cost has now risen to an astonishing £50 billion from an estimated £32 billion initial cost. The £50 billion revised cost is currently the focus of significant attention from various parties who believe it does dramatically err on the side of pessimism.
Is the project already impacting property prices
If we move back to Hale Barns near Altrincham it was recently confirmed that 11 properties along a much sought after road are currently up for sale. The combined asking price of these 11 properties is an astonishing £14 million although demand seems to have been impacted by the ongoing HS2 as the government’s preferred route will cut right across the area.
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Today we have seen the Labour Party take a step back from HS2, originally a Labour Party baby, amid suggestions that if invited to form the next government the party would look to review the project. It is unclear at this moment in time whether a potential review, which would be welcomed by many communities along the proposed route, is being used as something of a political carrot, to tempt swaying voters.
Compensation for homeowners
Unless a property was in the direct path of the proposed route for HS2 it is unlikely that homeowners would receive compensation for a potential fall in value. As we approach the next general election in 2015, amid suggestions that many in the Conservative Party are losing faith in HS2, it seems more likely than ever that the project will be put on hold for the foreseeable future. While this would be a significant U-turn by David Cameron and his coalition government it does seem that from a political point of view it could be suicide as we approach the next election.
While the HS2 project is not the only major project the government has undertaken it is one which now takes in an array of different communities up and down the country. Plans to extend the line in the future would also lead to further potential issues with homeowners and in many ways the project is now turning toxic.
Calculations about the potential impact upon local property prices have certainly caught the eye of many homeowners from the more affluent areas which would be impacted if the government continues with its preferred route. Whether or not this is becoming a political issue, as we approach the next election in 2015, is certainly a matter of debate but the fact that the Labour Party has today announced plans to review the project, if it was to gain office, certainly puts pressure upon the Conservative Party.