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.