The county’s transport chief will pledge to support residents living along the HS2 route at a forthcoming summit on the issue of high speed rail. Staffordshire County Council and Lichfield District Council will hold a summit on Monday (March 26) where they will meet with experts and community groups. Among the topics set to be discussed are the services which could be provided to reduce the visual impact and the noise which will be generated by the route. County Councillor Mike Maryon, cabinet member for highways and transport, said it was vital that that the impact on communities was kept to an absolute minimum. He added: “We are totally opposed to the current proposals for HS2. “We believe its supporters have completely failed to make the business case that the new line is a viable alternative to investing in the rail infrastructure that we already have in the county. “In Staffordshire, we think it would be far better value for money if the funds were used to improve the West Coast mainline and other existing transport links. This would be a much cheaper option and would help to boost the county’s economy, rather than having a damaging environmental effect on the area. “However, it is our duty as the county council to advise and support elected county representatives and communities living in areas that will be the hardest hit by the Governments decision. We have lobbied against HS2, but it is ultimately Westminster that makes the final decision and this can only really be decided upon by the Members of Parliament.” Councillor Alan White, Lichfield District Council’s cabinet member for development services, added: “We strongly oppose HS2, as not only will it have a negative impact on the district, it does not offer local people any of the benefits. We also agree that the business case has not been proved, and joined local councils in writing to Government to voice our opposition to the line last year. “However, in light of the Secretary of State’s announcement that the UK High Speed Rail network will go ahead, local people now need practical solutions to deal with the possible impact.” The summit will take place ahead of the first of the Staffordshire Community Forum meetings proposed by HS2 Ltd. They will be held in Hints and Armitage on the April 4 and April 11 respectively.