The leader of Lichfield District Council has called for a meeting with a the Government’s Secretary of State for Transport over the proposed high speed rail line that would cut through the city.
Cllr Michael Wilcox has joined nine other council leaders to demand the talks with Philip Hammond.
The letter was penned by Cllr Andy Farnell – the leader of Warwickshire County Council – and seeks a meeting to discuss what impact the 250mph route would have on the areas it will pass through.
Cllr Wilcox said:
“I do think it’s important we are repesented at any meetings with the Secretary of State about HS2 and their plans.”
The HS2 line was proposed by the previous Labour Government to link London with the Midlands and Manchester. Although no formal announcement has been made about the future of the scheme, it is believed that the coalition administration intends to continue with the project.
Cllr Wilcox’s decision to call for a meeting with the Secretary of State comes in the wake of heavy opposition to the new line in Lichfield.
A new campaign group has been created to fight the proposals, while residents in Streethay – where a viaduct will cut across the village – have claimed the high speed rail line would be a “disastrous attack” on their community.
Conservative County Councillor Matthew Ellis has also raised doubts about the economic reasoning behind the line, while Cllr Wilcox’s predecessor, Cllr David Smith, admitted he was “concerned” by the proposed route.
And Tory MP Michael Fabricant has also been scathing over the damage that would be caused to the countryside around his Lichfield constituency.
Speaking to The Lichfield Blog when the HS2 line was first proposed, Mr Fabricant said:
“While I welcome the principle of a High Speed Rail link between major conurbations including London, Birmingham, Manchester, and Leeds, I am deeply concerned about the environmental impact it will have on Lichfield District and I oppose the currently proposed route.
“And let us be clear: while the high speed rail link will be good for Britain as a whole and something we should all support in principle, the trains will not stop in Lichfield, but will whistle by at 250 miles per hour.”