Lichfield’s MP has insisted the route of HS2 remains “fundamentally flawed” after the Government outlined its proposals to build the line to Crewe six years earlier than planned.
George Osborne announced earlier this week that the controversial high speed rail project between Birmingham and Crew would now be opened in 2027.
HS2 will run through parts of Lichfield and the surrounding villages when it is constructed, with a link to the West Coast Main Line at Handsacre.
But local Conservative MP Michael Fabricant said he still had grave concerns about the proposals.
“I continue to oppose the legislation in Parliament as I believe the route of HS2 is fundamentally flawed,” he said. “It does not link with the Channel Tunnel, it does not link with Heathrow, and the route is more environmentally damaging and costly than it need otherwise be.”
Mr Fabricant raised the issue of the proposed route in the House of Commons, warning that local residents were facing further “anguish”.
Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport, replied: “I appreciate that there will be disruption in certain parts of the constituency, but he [Mr Fabricant] will know from his experience with phase 1 that beneficial changes can be made if a case is argued and the engineering is possible, as indeed has happened in and around Lichfield.”
Mr Fabricant has now urged people to study the new route maps when they are released to fully understand the potential impact of the line.
“Unfortunately, I now know that HS2 does propose to proceed with the link from Handsacre to the West Coast Main Line as they argue that will give accessibility to Stoke-on-Trent.
“Working with local councils and residents we can influence the route by suggesting alternative proposals to the proposed route and, if those are not accepted by HS2, interested parties can petition the independent committee that will be established after the initial stages of the new HS2 Bill are approved by Parliament.
“As Patrick McLoughlin said, changes to the route, including the lowering of the track and the avoidance of canals, was achieved when the Parliamentary committee was petitioned.
“As with Phase 1, I advise all those affected by HS2 in Phase 2a to understand that this is a long legislative process and changes often can be made when there is consensus between local residents and district and county councils.”
The Conservative MP has also called for fairness in the way any compensation claims from affected residents are handled.
“I recognise the difficulty and stress that many of my constituents will now face if they are affected by the line,” he said. ” It is important that they have at least the same compensation as those along Phase 1 of the route.”