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Lichfield MP warns high-speed rail campaigners they may miss an opportunity

Lichfield’s MP has warned campaigners that they will have “lost an opportunity” if they refuse to consider an alternative route to the proposed HS2 rail line.

Michael Fabricant made his comments ahead of a visit by the Secretary of State for Transport, Philip Hammond, tomorrow (October 5).

Hundreds of residents turned out at a public meeting organised by the Lichfield Action Group (LAG) to debate the proposed high-speed rail route.

LAG have insisted that the no route would be suitable for the line, Mr Fabricant has urged them not to rely on the proposals being ditched. He explained:

“The numbers that attended the meeting demonstrated the clear strength of feeling against both the HS2 in principle and the route in particular.  I shall ensure that Philip Hammond is made aware of this. But I remain concerned that if the LAG cannot agree a compromise route, which will mitigate the effects of the train line and its construction on residents in my constituency, we will have lost an opportunity.

“For if, despite our best efforts, the HS2 still goes ahead and a compromise route has not been agreed and submitted to the route inquiry by June or July of next year, there will be little or no opportunity to provide any input with an alternative route after that date. It was telling that Graham Long, the anti-HS2 campaigner invited to speak by the LAG, also took this firm view.  He said that as well as opposition to the HS2 in principle there needs to be consideration of an alternative route too just in case.

“If LAG continue with the view that it won’t present an alternative route, it must ask itself the question ‘if HS2 gets the go-ahead, where will LAG go from there if the deadline for submitting alternative routes has long passed?'”

The Lichfield Blog will have more reaction from the public meeting held on Friday (October 1) in the coming days.

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

19 Comments

  1. Streethay Swampy

    4th October, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Ok, so LAG present a case for an alternative route, Lichfield would then join the ranks of NIMBY’s. Where will it go and whose back yard will it be in, perhaps Fradley and Whittington? and what will happen to Curborough, Elmhurst and Armitage?
    So they will be back at square one defending these villages.. I think the saying is “Dammed if you do and Dammed if you don’t”. Why doesn’t the Government stand up and say NO! The case for a high speed rail does not justify the cost, as I have said before invest in the WCML with signal upgrades and new rolling stock.
    Mr Fabricant, I beleive some 70,000 voters put you in your position…. now’s the time to listen to them

  2. Chris

    4th October, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    The West Coast Mainline HAS been upgraded with new signalling and trains – dont you remember how much that cost, and how much disruption that caused?
    The only way to increase capacity to cater the next 30+ years on the WCML are another pair of tracks – it will cause a lot less disruption, save a vast amount of money plus produce huge economic benefits to the midlands, the north east and even Scotland if those lines are laid on a new, straighter, high speed route. For all the talk of the environment, the north-south gap, HS2 is about CAPACITY and this is the only sensible way.

  3. Streethay Swampy

    4th October, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Chris
    I have been reliably informed by a person who works for Network Rail that a signal upgrade would be be required to enable rolling stock to travel the WCML at higher speeds. Another set of tracks causing less disruption? may be to the WCML but not to the areas where the new tracks would run. What benefits to the West Midlands on HS2 the only places that MAY benefit would be where stations are sited, London, Oxford or Northampton, Birmingham International and Birmingham Curzon Street. The North – South gap would still exist as areas along the route would become commuter towns for those working in the “City of London”. Who would have thought ten years ago that meetings would no longer have to be face to face, we now have telehone and video conferencing, e mail, skype etc, in the company I work for it is more productive to use these formats rather than spending time travelling to and fro meetings. Where is the money going to come from to support this project, not the “City” it was annouced todate that money would come from the state. HS1 is now losing money, the m6 toll road is losing money, why? because of the costs. So we all will be paying out of our taxes to subsidise the ticket costs. This money could be better used to fund education and health

  4. Rab

    4th October, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    Taken from the Guardian Online today ………seems theres more to come with the ‘Y’ heading North sited at Lichfield

    But Hammond will indicate that the government will bear the brunt of funding the new £20bn line when he announces that an extra £800m will be spent to upgrade the planned line north of Birmingham. The so-called “Y option” will be chosen, in which two high-speed lines will branch out north of Birmingham at Lichfield to join the east cost mainline south of York and the west coast mainline north of Manchester. This will dramatically cut journey times to the north of England and to Scotland.

  5. Rab

    4th October, 2010 at 7:21 pm

  6. Neil

    4th October, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    So Hammond is telling us the government is paying for it whereas Fabricant told us on Friday the City are funding it. Hmmmmmm, someone is telling fibs!

  7. Adam

    4th October, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    The highlight of the meeting was the use of the phrase WIGIG: When it’s gone it’s gone

  8. Rab

    4th October, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    And there was me thinking WIGIG was something to do with hair pieces!! WIG I Got

  9. Adam

    4th October, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    There was a fine, lustrous example Friday night!

  10. Bornandbred

    5th October, 2010 at 1:05 am

    MP’s never cease to amaze and nauseate with their empty rhetoric about lying in front of the diggers. No doubt they are well practised at ‘lying’. The mere fact that we ‘must have an alternative route in mind’ shouts that HS2 is a foregone conclusion in the tiny minds of the Westminster clones. HS9 Ltd registered at companies house was the moment the penny dropped for me at fridays meeting. The conspiracy theory goes on that our MP’s know more than they are contractually allowed to say without fear of losing the very job that us the voters gave them. Unfortunately it appears that party political differences between the main parties are blurred on this absolute nonsense. political suicide awaits which ever party continues the fiasco.

  11. Streethay Swampy

    5th October, 2010 at 10:25 am

    Bornandbred:- I agree 100% with your comments. Perhaps our MP’s should think more of the people who put them in their positions. For some time all the action groups have stated that this project would be state funded and then at Friday’s meeting to be told in front of the media that the funding would be coming from the “City” came as a bit of a suprise but at least Philip Hammond has now set the matter straight … we will be paying for it! Are our MP’s being given false information? If so they should take the matter up publically in the right place, The House of Commons

  12. Chris

    5th October, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    Swampy, your contact was right – new, cab signalling would be needed for higher speeds on the WCML and more trains – but this would only benefit high speed services and increase the speed differential with local and freight train’s, producing little extra capacity at HUGE cost. As i suspected no one here is really able to come up with an INFORMED argument against HS2, just nimbyism and soundbites.

  13. Iain

    7th October, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    Chris
    Its not Nibyism.
    I started the group so people could be informed about spending £30billion / £60billion on something that will not be used by normal people because it will be too costly (ref HS1) 
    Additionally could you sit in front on 100 cancer suffers and tell them they cannot have Avastin drug (that every other European country can have costing a fraction of what this White Elephant will cost) that will prolong their lives BUT we will spend Billions on getting you Chris 30 minutes quicker somewhere up north.
    The best way to help the northern communities is to get making things up there again and do something about East / West transport.
    Nibyism is a too easy fob off.

  14. Alan

    8th October, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    Chris, if / when it’s built, will you be using HS2, HS3 or HS4?

  15. Donna

    9th October, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    Alan, I doubt if the average person would be able to afford the cost of the tickets, premium line = premium prices. I think I have to stick to the WCML

  16. Chris

    9th October, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    It IS nimbyism – the proof of this is your rush to condemn this project without bothering to read the report. If you had, not only would you have seen the ‘further WCML upgrades’ idea debunked, but you’d know realise the business case is NOT dependent on ‘premium’ priced fares. This is key to HS2 being viable. Now please, go away and actually read the report – you may be surprised!

  17. Bornandbred

    9th October, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    Oh dear! Chris & Iain…handbags at dawn? Iain, it looks like Chris is someone who will never be convinced that HS2 is not necessary. There will always be individuals who have to travel the country as fast as they can without regard for nature, the environment, the poor state of the economy, or even NIMBYs! lol. As long as they get to their ‘impotent’ meeting quicker then they are completely satisfied. Premature ‘arrival’ is a recognised problem amongst those who can’t wait to get there with other willing ‘passengers’ and tends to be prevalent in those who usually ‘travel’ alone

  18. Chris

    11th October, 2010 at 12:03 am

    I’d prefer it if you didnt profess to know my mind and whether my opinion can or cant be swayed. However, it certainly wont be swayed by people with such overwhelming personal reasons for it not to progress and who have little regard for the wider economic and social impact. This childish nonsense about getting to a meeting quicker completely misses the point – initial route will help address the lack of capacity of the WCML and the M6, while the ‘Y’ route will also release valuable capacity too on the M1, Heathrow, regional airports, the ECML south of York, the MML and the Chiltern Mainline with, for example, HUGE benefits for local services along those corridors such as Thameslink. Freight as well will be a big winner. THESE are the issues that HS2 addresses if you actually looked at the proposals – the time differential makes it attractive, yes, but it isnt the reason why it should be built or will be built.

  19. Chris

    11th October, 2010 at 12:15 am

    ..btw, i’d just like to add that im a firm believer that whats needed are an extra pair of tracks between Birmingham and the Midlands. My opinion on HS2 is simply because it makes massively more sense to not follow the WCML, causing much less disruption, at a similar or lower price and with very little rehousing while making it a lot more attractive, with huge economic and social benefits, with a straighter, faster and segregated Hi-speed route. Read the report, and you’ll see how persuasive the arguments are.