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Pledges to Petition on Next Phase of HS2 in Staffordshire

Staffordshire County Council is championing their cause in Parliament on Phase 2a of HS2, and has pledged to continue to get the best deal for Staffordshire and its communities.

Phase 2a will aim to mitigate the impact of the high speed line that will run from the West Midlands to Crewe.

Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, said: “From the outset the county council has been committed to get the best outcome from HS2 for the county, for communities and for businesses in terms of mitigation, compensation, improved connectivity and a share in any economic benefits the project delivers.

“As part of our lobbying on Phase One we achieved the lowering of five miles of the route in Lichfield, bringing significant environmental mitigation, and it is only right that we continue to do everything can to get the best deal for Staffordshire in this next phase. We also secured the inclusion of the Handsacre Link, which will allow Staffordshire residents to benefit from high speed travel via the hub at Stafford.”

In total the county council had approximately 100 petitioning points on Phase 1 of HS2, which ranged from major changes to the vertical alignment of the railway to points of technical detail concerning the Environmental Statement. The High Speed Rail (West Midlands to Crewe) Bill was deposited to Parliament in July and a second reading is expected in the House of Commons in early 2018.

At this stage the county council and other parties will be able to petition on the impact along the 33 miles of the route and key petitioning points identified by the county council include:

  • The potential to lower the vertical alignment of the railway as it passes by Kings Bromley on viaduct
  • Proper assessment of the potential to join Whitmore and Bar Hill tunnels, avoiding a range of impacts including loss of ancient woodland
  • Ensuring maximum mitigation for the railhead/maintenance depot at Stone, including consideration of noise, visual impact, and transport planning issues
  • Petitioning on alternative or improved construction routes where these are unacceptable in safety or capacity terms
  • Ensuring proper mitigation and restoration for the borrow pits proposed in Lichfield and Newcastle
  • A range of ecological, archaeological, landscape and Public Rights of Way matters

In total, the high speed rail line will run through 45 miles of Staffordshire in Phase 1 and Phase 2a with the route to Crewe due to open in 2026.

On the local impact of the HS2 project, Sir Bill Cash added –
“Following my formal response to the consultation for the HS2 Phase 2a route between the West Midlands and Crewe, I have continued to express my clear continued and resolute opposition to the HS2 project which is deeply flawed and which in Phase2a, so deeply and specially affects my constituents and their properties.
“The proposals raise grave concerns and will have a massively devastating impact on the lives and properties of my constituents at Yarnfield and Stone, Swynnerton, Baldwins Gate, Bar Hill, Whitmore, Whitmore Heath and Madeley and in the surrounding villages.
“I remain opposed to the direct impact of the proposed line throughout those areas and the railhead at Yarnfield, in between the proposed HS2 route and the M6, particularly since the scheme will bring no intrinsic benefit to my constituency.
“On behalf of my constituents, I have been and will continue to press for every means of mitigating and reducing the impact, working with all the relevant interests adversely and injuriously affected by the proposals. I will continue to represent the interests of my constituents in this vital matter, jointly and separately, and consult with those concerned.
“In the new year, I will vote against the Second Reading of the High Speed Rail (West Midlands – Crewe) Bill and when the hybrid Bill Select Committee is then then set up, the Committee will then be able to hear petitions from myself and my constituents whose property or interests are directly and specially affected by the proposals in the Bill. I will be assisting my constituents in the preparation of petitions in order to protect their interests. I will do so on the basis that the Committee may then require changes to the Bill in response to petitioners’ concerns.”
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