HS2 rethink is urged

By Chris Willmott 12/07 Updated: 17/07 15:58

An artist’s impression of the proposed HS2. (s)

CALLS are being made for a tunnel from Burton Green to Balsall Common to negate the impacts of HS2.

A meeting between key players in the opposition to the scheme locally, including MPs, councillors and campaign groups has led the call, with Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman MP (Meriden) and Jeremy Wright, MP for Kenilworth and Southam, promising to take the fight to Transport Secretary Justine Greening.

Solihull Council is also seeking 'urgent talks' with Ms Greening to press for 'specific design improvements to the HS2 scheme to minimise the impact for Solihull residents'.

The Council has set up a working party of senior councillors to take matters forward, receive representations and input from local communities and promote the interests of the borough.

Key improvements being sought include a tunnel through Balsall Common, Berkswell and Burton Green, a traffic impact study at the interchange station, review of options and formal consultation with the community in Hampton in Arden over the proposed viaduct, road diversions and bridge, realignment or a tunnel near Bluebell Recreation Ground in Chelmsley Wood and an overall review of the impact of the scheme across the borough.

Coun Ian Courts, Cabinet Member for Economic Development said: “We are seeking talks as a matter of urgency with the Secretary of State to press for these improvements.

"HS2 have held two cycles of Community Forums, but this process has not given us any assurances that the requested improvements can be delivered, and so we will now seek this from Government directly.

"Our Working Party will be vital in ensuring local concerns are heard and raised – it will ensure the Council can effectively promote the interests of the borough with HS2 Ltd and Government.”

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman also lent her support to calls for a deep bore tunnel under the area from Burton Green to the north of Berkswell to mitigate the impact of HS2 on the local community.

“I am full square behind the proposals to mitigate HS2,” she said.

“I have written to every parish council affected in my constituency to offer my help and support with mitigation and compensation for my constituents."

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