HOMEOWNERS affected by the route of the HS2 rail link will now be able to ask the government to buy their property.

It follows the announcement that the route for the first phase of the £42.6bn project has been protected from future development.

Homeowners will get the market value of their property, plus 10 per cent (up to £47,000) and moving costs.

But campaigners said the money would help only a "tiny fraction" of people.

The new high-speed railway line is intended to link London to Birmingham by 2026, with branches to Manchester and Leeds, via Sheffield and through Barnsley, planned by 2032.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: "I understand the distress of those who live along the line of route and can assure people that we will process claims to purchase their property swiftly so that those who qualify can move as quickly as possible."

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