Bercow demands action over worthless HS2 house

Proposed HS2 rail line
Proposed HS2 rail line Photo: HS2 company video

Commons Speaker and Buckingham MP John Bercow is demanding "urgent action" following revelations the home of a 97 year-old blind woman is worthless because of High Speed 2 (HS2).

He says the Department for Transport must act to end the uncertainty and has written to the Transport Secretary.

Elfrida Harper-Tarr is in a care home following a fall and is desperate to sell the property in Turweston, Buckinghamshire, to pay for her care as her life savings have almost run out.

She can no longer walk or care for herself and was forced to leave her home because of poor health.

Her son Mike told ITV News Meridian on Friday she was "worried sick she would be thrown out on the street."

He said she only had enough savings to pay for three more months of care.

As she owns a house she will not qualify for state aid when her savings run out. He says the situation "could not be worse."

A couple trying to buy the property were told by a leading bank for mortgage purposes the property was worth "zero."

The house is in need of renovation and it is thought the bank valuer thought with local house prices going down because of the rail line the new owners may not see a good return on the investment. The house is on the market for £275,000.

The Woolwich mortgage valuation said HS2 was the reason for refusing a loan.

Mrs Harper-Tarr had run the Turweston Post Office for more than fifty years. The village is in the Vale of Aylesbury District and near to Brackley.

The building is about 500 meters from the proposed HS2 line and the case has led to claims thousands of homes in towns and villages near the line could be blighted.

HS2 would cost £33bn and run from London to Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester. In the Meridian region it would run close to Wendover, Aylesbury, Quainton and north of Bicester and Banbury to Brackley.

HS2 say a special scheme exists where they will consider buying homes blighted by the scheme. Mrs Harper-Barr Is currently applying for her property to be purchased.

Critics say under the scheme homes have to have been up for sale for more than a year and the application form is 35 pages long. They are calling for a more simplified scheme.

The Government say HS2 will create thousands of jobs and boost the economy.

But many along the route say there is no business case and damage will be caused to the countryside.

Mrs Harper-Tarr's family are now hoping to find a cash buyer but say the Government should buy the house as it is because HS2 the property can't sell.