I just want to say thank you so much to all my online friends who have sent me cards of encouragement, keep commenting to let me know they’re praying for me and just generally being interested in how we are doing. I thought it best to write an update post on where we actually stand in regards to the train and our house (rather than just a emotional/spiritual post like my last few!).
So, we have now lived in Mexborough for coming up to 4 years. It is 19 months since we received the letters to say that our homes would be needed to build the new high speed railway, and a lot and not a lot has happened in that time! Nothing has changed in that the government has not changed their minds on this new route, and so in April last year me and my husband decided to file a blight notice and officially start the process of selling our house to the government.
The government gave no guidance, no step by step instructions, but luckily we have been guided by lots of other helpful neighbours who are going through the same process. The first step was to have our blight accepted, which it was shortly after we submitted it. We then had our house valued by our own independent surveyor, followed by a surveyor from HS2. They both came up with their own idea of what the “market price” for our house was and then commenced war. All of this was put on hold with parliament having a nice holiday over the summer, and so we recommenced negotiations in September. At this point, we weren’t in a rush to move and so it wasn’t a big deal for us. The values HS2’s surveyor was coming back with were atrocious and wouldn’t give us enough money to move anyway, so we were happy waiting.
After Christmas I felt this strong change and prompting from God to step out and actually start looking at some houses. The offer from HS2 had increased and we could afford to move at a push. So we stepped out in faith and did some house viewings, eventually agreeing on a house that ticked most of our boxes, in one of our preferred areas of Doncaster and hopefully would come in at a price we could afford. After a week or so of haggling with the vendors we agreed a price and the wheels were in motion!
We were told by our surveyor then that it was likely our offer would go up, and so we waited until just into February before officially accepting HS2’s offer on our house, getting a little bit closer to its actual value by doing so. Solicitors had now been instructed, surveys on the new house being done and it started to feel like things were looking up and moving forward! A few weeks passed and we hadn’t heard from HS2’s solicitors. What we hadn’t been told (yet another thing missing from the step by step instructions) was that we had to submit our claim form (a form detailing all of the costs that we would incur in moving home involuntarily) for the process to start legally. So we rushed to get all our quotes (removals vans, solicitors costs, etc) to submit, which we did at the end of February.
Now the solicitors have been in touch and all the legal paperwork is being drawn up. This is a good sign, and things are moving forward, but we are still unsure as to how long the next part of the process will take. I would love to be in the new house by the 13th April, but in reality forms have to be signed off by the Department for Transport and a million other people in HS2/government to allow them to buy our house. I had hoped this move wouldn’t be that stressful given that most of the costs were paid for, but actually we have had to shell out for a lot of things up front, getting the money back later down the line. We are out thousands of pounds, sat waiting for who knows how long, but at least we are in the process. Everything takes “up to 10 working days” and so you are never sure when it could actually happen.
So for those of you who have been praying for us – thank you so much. Please can you continue to pray that we would trust in God’s timing for all of this, that forms would move smoothly and quickly between all the different parties involved, and that we would be able to move into our new home in April.