Council Leader ‘concerned’ by plans for new rail line through Lichfield

Councillor David Smith

Councillor David Smith

The Leader of Lichfield District Council has admitted he is “concerned” over plans for a new high-speed rail line through the city.

Under Government plans unveiled by Lord Adonis, Lichfield could see a 2.5-mile long viaduct built crossing over the A5127, A38 and West Coast Main Line.

A number of local politicians and community groups have already expressed their concerns over the scheme, with MP Michael Fabricant describing the proposals as “unacceptable”.

And Cllr David Smith, Leader of Lichfield District Council has raised concerns over the lack of benefit the region will see from the new line.

He explained:

“As leader of Lichfield District Council I support the principle of improving national transport infrastructure. That said, I am concerned about the proposals to develop a new route through the district, which will potentially have an adverse impact on our environment, and, more importantly, be of little benefit to local residents who would not be able to access the upgraded rail network from within the district.”

A public consultation will take place regarding the new rail link, with any work not expected to begin before 2017.

Lord Adonis explained that the new rail was needed to cope with the country’s increasing transport needs.

He said:

“Over the next 20 to 30 years the UK will require a step-change in transport capacity and connectivity both to promote and respond to long-term economic growth.

“High speed rail would be by far the most effective way to achieve this step-change, offering a balance of capacity, connectivity and sustainability benefits unmatched by any other option.”

Detailed maps for the route can be found on the HS2 website.

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

5 Comments

  1. Pingback: Out With A Bang » One tiny, little milesone on the streets of Lichfield this evening; perhaps we don’t all need to bow to our former masters, pay rent to our lords…

  2. Mike Machin

    19th March, 2010 at 10:38 am

    Is there no part of this country which is sacred anymore? The first I heard of these plans for the high speed rail network was while reading ‘the blog’ yesterday afternoon. At first I was shocked at this news and then anger started to well inside me. While I appreciate that UK needs to seriously invest and improve its infrastructure (it’s all too little too late in my opinion), why do these high speed rail plans have to cut right through the historic city of Lichfield and some of the finest countryside in Staffordshire? And why ,oh why, does the train line have to be elevated on a viaduct for the whole world to see? Lichfield remains one of the finest cities in the UK but if plans like this are passed and approved all that will remain is fond memories of ‘how it used to be’. Lichfield residents need to rise up and take collective action against these plans and show those in Whitehall that this is not going to be a walkover. Yours, a very proud Lichfield resident.

  3. Streethay Swampy

    19th March, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Mike,
    Streethay Against Development will also be taking the fight. I agree entirely with your comments on the viaduct. The rail link is needed but why can’t it bypass Lichfield/Streethay and be positioned over the A38 betwwen Streehay and Fradley (Out of direct sight) this surely would be a cost saving?

  4. Fiona

    20th March, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    The Business Case for the HSR link is not robust; the cost outstrips the benefit. The aim of High Speed Rail is to link main centres which are long distances apart to reduce the need for air travel not to shorten an already acceptable journey time. Many Lichfield residents commute to London on the West Coast Mainline (I can’t imagine there’s much air travel between these two cities) but the HSR link may mean that Lichfield residents are expected to travel to the new station in Birmingham as services to Lichfield Trent Valley Station may be stopped which will increase journey times between Lichfield and London. Improvement in this country’s railways are needed but it’s hardly worth carving up the Chiltern Hills (an area of outstanding natural beauty), building a new station in Birmingham (in addition to the regeneration of New Street) and a new station in London which will require the demolition of over 400 homes as well as destroying many places along the proposed route, Lichfield included. The Government admits that the environmental impact of the HSR link would be “broadly neutral”. Where therefore is the benefit of such a costly scheme?

  5. Peter Higgs

    20th March, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    As a resident of Boley Park the prospect of the viaduct and the associated noise is alarming. As Fiona says this may endanger the Trent Valley to London service which I have appreciated since moving to Lichfield from Sutton Coldfield 5 years ago. Travelling to Birmingham International at rush hour is a nightmare and if to Curzon Street would be worse. The planners do not understand the impact locally of what they are proposing, have not thought this through and must be opposed vigorously