£20 million compensation offer to home owners on HS2 route

Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond has recently revealed that 34 applicants with property along the proposed HS2 route from London to Birmingham have received a formal offer of compensation.
The announcement comes before a final decision has even been made as to whether the government will proceed with the construction of the high speed rail route.  A consultation regarding the proposed HS2 route was commenced on 28th February 2011 by the Department for Transport and a final decision is expected at the end of this year.
If HS2 gets the go ahead, owners of property along the proposed route will be affected by noise pollution, amongst other issues, and may, in serious cases, be subject to a compulsory purchase order.
For details of the proposed route for HS2 click to view the map here.
In order to qualify for the government’s compensation, under the Exceptional Hardship Scheme, home owners will have to prove that their house has been marketed for a minimum of three months and should have failed to achieve an offer of at least 85 per cent of the current market value.
It all seems a little premature for compensation to be offered to home owners before the final decision is made, especially in a time of hefty government spending cuts.
Are the government confirming, in a roundabout way, that HS2 will definitely go ahead and that the consultation is just a rubber stamping exercise?
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