Lichfield workshop draws up plans to mitigate impact of HS2

A number of groups have come together in Lichfield to plan the next steps to mitigate the impact of HS2 on communities.

Parish councils, residents and action groups attended a Staffordshire County Council workshop ahead of a key debate by MPs on Monday (April 28).

A graphic mock-up of the HS2 line

A graphic mock-up of the HS2 line

The sessions was aimed at developing a “voice of Staffordshire” on the issue of the controversial high speed rail line, which is set to cut through parts of Lichfield and the surrounding villages.

Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for economy and infrastructure, said: “As a county council we remain firmly opposed to HS2, but recognise too the importance of putting forward reasoned and credible arguments to mitigate the impact on Staffordshire and our communities, should it go ahead.

“The debate on Monday is likely to trigger the next stage of the plans where people directly impacted by Phase One of the scheme will be able to put forward their cases directly to MPs.

“Together with Lichfield District Council we have already put forward a detailed mitigation document to help reduce the impact both during construction and operation and are determined to continue to champion the cause of residents every step of the way.”

The second reading of the Hybrid Bill on Monday will provide MPs with the first opportunity to debate the proposals to secure the powers for the construction of the line between London and the Midlands.

If it passes, a Select Committee will be tasked with hearing objections against details of the scheme by those directly affected by it. Changes could then be recommended based on concerns.

Among those at the workshop at Lichfield district Council were local authorities from across the county and Stafford MP Jeremy Lefroy.

Experts were also on hand to give visitors an understanding of how the Select Committee would be likely to listen to specific points.

Cllr Winnington added: “Ourselves and the groups involved are under no illusions about the challenge that lies ahead and it important that we work together to mitigate the effect on our countryside, our communities and on our current rail links as well as win timely, meaningful compensation for everyone affected.”

If approved, the Hybrid Bill – which is effectively the planning application for HS2 – will signal the go-ahead for the start of construction on Phase One in 2016.

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