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Councillors determined to get best HS2 deal for Lichfield communities

Councillors have vowed to get the best deal possible for communities around Lichfield set to be impacted by HS2.

An artist's impression of HS2

An artist’s impression of HS2

Royal Assent was granted for Phase 1 of the controversial high speed rail project, meaning work can begin on constructing the route.

Cllr Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for HS2, said the authority were determined to ensure a good compensation deal for communities and a share of the economic benefits the line could bring.

Mark said: “The Royal Assent effectively means the legal green light for plans for construction to start on Phase One of HS2,” he said. “We remain absolutely committed to make sure we get the best result we can for Staffordshire and with construction now in the pipeline we will also be working hard to minimise disruption in the county on the ground every step of the way.

“In Phase 1 we successfully managed to get the route lowered in Lichfield area to significantly minimise the impact on communities and with Phase 2a around the corner the county council will continue to ensure that the voice of Staffordshire people is heard loud and clear.”

Phase 2a will include a stretch of HS2 around Fradley and Lichfield and is expected to get Royal Assent some time in 2019.

But Joe Rukin, from the Stop HS2 campaign group, insisted the decision to approve any phase of the line showed politicians were ignoring the arguments against the line.

“HS2 getting the go-ahead is a triumph of spin over evidence-based policy,” he said.

“It is a sad indictment on modern day politics that we have won all the arguments on HS2, every poll has shown increasing public opposition to this white elephant, and all the independent reports from experts have labelled HS2 a boondoggle, but we are stuck with it because vested interest groups lobbied for it and created political momentum which made it too embarrassing to cancel.

“Quite simply this is a terrible project which will not deliver on it’s promises, come in years late, miles over budget, create havoc during construction and has disastrous environmental consequences.

“The fight against Phase 2 of HS2 will continue, but on Phase 1, as all these things come to pass, all we can look forward to is saying ‘we told you so’.”

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