Property owners feel ignored by HS2 officials, according to a survey by Knight Frank

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An overwhelming majority of the property owners affected by the proposed high-speed rail link between London and Birmingham feel that HS2 Ltd has failed to communicate effectively with them, according to the results of a sentiment survey conducted by property consultant Knight Frank.

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I think these survey results offer a valuable insight to those responsible for championing and delivering large infrastructure projects in the UK, particularly one as controversial and costly as HS2.

An overwhelming majority of the property owners affected by the proposed high-speed rail link between London and Birmingham feel that HS2 Ltd has failed to communicate effectively with them, according to the results of a sentiment survey conducted by property consultant Knight Frank.

A poll of the firm’s clients and those signed up to receive its HS2 updates shows that 64% of the respondents believe overall communication has been “very poor”. Only 8% said they considered it even “adequate”. However, Knight Frank’s experience is that HS2 Ltd is now starting to engage more constructively.

When asked to comment on specific aspects of the scheme, compensation was the area where it was felt communication was particularly lacking – almost 80% of respondents said it had been “very poor”.

The results were better for the scheme’s route and timetable – about 25% of those completing the survey said communication regarding these areas had been “adequate”. But only 1% said it could be considered “good”.

Just 7% of people said the government or HS2 Ltd had been their most useful source of information regarding the new railway. Property consultants were the most valued source of advice (30%), while anti-HS2 campaign groups also scored highly (22%). National and local media were each rated as the most useful by 15% of respondents.

Commenting on the survey results, James Del Mar, Head of Knight Frank’s HS2 team, said: “I am sure HS2 Ltd will be disappointed with the findings, but, having spoken to many property owners who are likely to be affected by HS2, I am not surprised by the strength of their feelings.

“Most tell me that they feel almost ignored, despite suffering the most because of HS2; not just from the upheaval that the scheme will create if it goes ahead, but from the worry and uncertainty it has caused in their lives already.

“The irony is that there is a huge amount of useful information on the websites of the Department for Transport and HS2 Ltd. However, even in this digital age, people rightly expect a far more personalised level of contact, and perhaps even a modicum of sympathy regarding something that could have a very major impact on their lives.

“I think these survey results offer a valuable insight to those responsible for championing and delivering large infrastructure projects in the UK, particularly one as controversial and costly as HS2.

“The good news is that HS2 Ltd is prepared to engage with those affected, we have had numerous conversations and held a number of meetings with our clients, albeit that many of them include some of the most significant houses, farms and estates along the route. Senior members of its team have attended joint site visits with me and are willing to discuss constructively any issues raised.

“Now is the time for property owners to seek advice to take advantage of HS2 Ltd’s apparent willingness to work more closely with us, particularly as a new voluntary purchase scheme could be on the cards.”

Results of the Knight Frank HS2 Sentiment Survey can be viewed on the Knight Frank HS2 website or in the attached PDF.

For further information, please contact:

James Del Mar, Head of Knight Frank HS2 Team:
+44 (0) 07767 633915, james.del.mar (at) knightfrank (dot) com

Charlotte Palmer, Country PR Manager, Knight Frank:
+44 (0) 20 7861 5037, charlotte.palmer (at) knightfrank (dot) com

Andrew Shirley, Head of Rural Research, Knight Frank:
+44(0) 20 7861 5040, andrew.shirley (at) knightfrank (dot) com

Notes to editors

HS2 Ltd is the organisation that is developing and promoting the HS2 project. It is wholly owned by the Department for Transport.

The Knight Frank sentiment survey was completed by 160 farmers, estate owners, commercial property owners and homeowners.

The Knight Frank HS2 team
Knight Frank has set up a dedicated team to help those affected by HS2. The team has over 100 years’ combined experience dealing with other major infrastructure schemes such as the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (HS1), the M25 and Stansted Airport. Unlike some other property consultants Knight Frank works only for affected property owners, not HS2 Ltd or the government, and therefore has no conflicts of interest.

More details and the latest scheme updates are also available at http://www.knightfrank.co.uk/hs2 and you can follow us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/knighfrankhs2

Knight Frank LLP is the leading independent global property consultancy. Headquartered in London, Knight Frank and its New York-based global partner, Newmark Knight Frank, operate from 242 offices, in 43 countries, across six continents. More than 7,067 professionals handle in excess of US$817 billion (£498 billion) worth of commercial, agricultural and residential real estate annually, advising clients ranging from individual owners and buyers to major developers, investors and corporate tenants. For further information about the Company, please visit http://www.knightfrank.com.

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