A Lichfield campaign group has vowed to continue its fight against the HS2 rail route – despite revised plans lessening the impact on the city.
Secretary of State for Transport, Philip Hammond, revealed yesterday (December 20) that a 685-metre viaduct carrying the line would not be built.
Instead a new route will go from Hints through Whittington Heath Golf Course before crossing the A38 just north-east of Streethay, near The Manor House, then swinging back to join the West Coast Main Line between Elmhurst and Handsacre.
A spokesman for Lichfield Action Group (LAG) welcomed the news that Mr Hammond had abandoned the plan to build the viaduct, but reaffirmed the group’s intention to continue the fight to stop HS2.
“We are pleased that the Minister has listened to the people of Lichfield, who made it clear at the public meeting in Boley Park Community Hall and when Mr Hammond visited the city that the route was unacceptable. But Mr Hammond should take note of the fact that the vast majority of people have let us know that they don’t want HS2 anywhere.
“The new route takes HS2 about one kilometre away from Boley Park, but one kilometre closer to Whittington. So what’s good news for Lichfield is bad news for Streethay, Whittington, Curborough and Fradley, and there will be bad news to come for Armitage, Kings Bromley, the Ridwares, or wherever the extension of HS2 goes through Staffordshire to the north of Lichfield in the future.
“This is a £30billion white elephant, £30billion that would be better spent on improved infrastructure, on education, health, police – front-line services that are facing drastic cutbacks.”
The spokesman said that the people of Lichfield should be grateful for the efforts of MP Michael Fabricant in speaking out against the route, but added:
“HS2’s business and environmental case are still flawed- these amendments won’t change that. When we began our campaign we were naturally concerned on the local impact which stirred us into action but as we explored the proposals in more detail we became convinced that the HS2 proposals should be opposed in principle as they do not make economic or environmental sense.
“This has become a status project and the resources proposed would be better spent in improving the existing rail network and the planned High Speed Internet with associated facilities for video conferencing. In the present weather what use would HS2 be?”
Lichfield Action Group plan to hold a roadshow and rally in the new year as part of a campaign organised by a national federation of action groups and they urge all surrounding villages to support the event and show their opposition to the whole project.
To contact Lichfield Action Group email email@example.com.