COMIC John Bishop has sold his family mansion for almost £7 million – to transport chiefs building the HS2 rail link.
Bishop, 52 – previously a vocal critic of the link – flogged the property for £4.5 million more than he paid for it six years ago.
John paid £2.25million for the country pile in Cheshire six years ago[/caption]
Scouse funnyman Bishop, who lives with wife Melanie and their three grown-up sons, bought the sprawling grade II listed pad in rural Cheshire in 2013 for £2.25 million.
But Land Registry records show the new owner is The Secretary of State for Transport, with the seven-bedroom pad swapping hands for £6.8 million.
It comes after stand-up comic Bishop previously blasted the £80 billion scheme – and poked fun of it in a video.
In 2014, he voiced a Thomas The Tank Engine-style cartoon attacking the project to link London to Birmingham and cities in the north.
Calling HS2 “the Great Train Robbery”, the two-minute film saw Bishop as the voice of a gold HS2 train seen smashing through smashing through a rural home and speaking to engines ‘Billy’, ‘Pat’ and ‘Bob’.
In Bishop’s voice, HS2 says: “I’m hiding….from the facts.”
Questioned by the other ‘trains’ HS2 says: “After spending tens of billions of pounds, I will only save 20 minutes.
“I will devastate communities – and destroy unique wildlife habitats.”
Two years later, the comedian took to Twitter to say: “Anyone looking at the details of this sees how flawed it is, including every independent review.”
But Bishop has also played down the impact on him personally, saying the plans would not “really affect us”.
Planners have approved a string of applications for improvements at the sprawling 24-acre property in Northwich, Cheshire, including a new entrance porch and single storey stable.
But we can reveal how HS2 have now bought the home, which boasts its own swimming pool and tennis court, for a record £6.8 million.
The HS2 deal, which went through in September, marks the biggest payment by high speed rail chiefs for a domestic property.
‘THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY’
Transport chiefs have spent more than half a billion pounds buying hundreds of domestic properties on the proposed high speed lines.
The same year he bought the property, comic John spoke out against the project, saying it would “kill communities”.
The funnyman, who revealed how he was regular rail passenger to London, said: “I’m opposed to spending what appears to be a bottomless amount of money on a service which is to serve people like me – who don’t need it.”
He added: “I’ve got to clarify that it isn’t going in my garden, this thing is at least a mile from my house, it’s not going to really affect us, if it happens on that route.”
Department of Transport documents now show the line from Crewe to Manchester – which runs through Northwich – could be just a few hundred metres from the historic mansion.
An impact report last October describes the historic mansion as being “approximately 250m west from the land for the proposed scheme” and reveals a “moderate adverse significant effect”.
Penny Gaines, whose campaign group Stop HS2 has obtained details of many of the affected homes, said: “The details of the properties show the sheer scale of destruction that HS2 will cause.
“Behind each of these properties, from small cottage to something larger, is a family who have had their lives upturned by HS2 through no fault of their own.
“What the figures don’t show is the immense difficulties that HS2 have caused to these people through their awkward and sometimes bizarre procedures that need to be followed for people to sell their homes through these schemes.
“In addition to these residential properties, there are all the commercial properties which HS2 have been taking over. In many cases HS2 Ltd are taking commercial properties without compensating the business owners.”
It’s feared HS2 will end up costing more than £80 billion – well over the initial £34 billion budget.
Last month Britain’s spending watchdog said taxpayers’ cash was being thrown away by “unqualified” ministers indulging in vanity projects such as HS2.
National Audit Office chief Aymas Morse attacked the “massive cost overruns” on the high speed rail link.
A spokesman for HS2 said: “We have to buy land to build HS2, as well as properties impacted by the project, and we have to pay the owners what it’s worth.
“Some properties cost more than others, but in each case we are paying a price that’s fair to both homeowners and taxpayers.“We have the budget to do this, and we are within that budget.”
HS2 said the National Audit Office reviewed HS2’s land and property programme and found that it was on track and within budget.
It added that all homes are assessed by two experienced independently qualified valuers and that they take the average of the valuations if they are close or ask for additional valuations to take place to ensure that we are using public money responsibly.
The controversial HS2 scheme will eventually link London to Scotland.
The first phase of the 250mph-route between London and Birmingham is due to open in 2026.
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It is understood that Bishop put his house on the market before a new HS2 route was published in 2017 – placing the line 150 metres from his house.
He then had problems selling it, until he was told about the HS2 ‘need to sell scheme’ which the family used.
A source said: “He is still opposed to HS2 due to the destruction it will cause for saving very little time on journeys.”
Comedian John bashed plans for the link because he would only saved 20 minutes travel time[/caption]
John sold the home he shared with his wife and three children to allow the HS2 link to run alongside it[/caption]
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