Shock at planned site for HS2 workforce

By Laura Payne Thursday 07 March 2013 Updated: 07/03 09:50

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

SHOCK and amazement - the overriding emotion of Balsall Common residents when they discovered a construction base for HS2 could be built next to their village.

The revelation was made at the latest HS2 community forum held in Hampton in Arden on Monday (March 4).

The proposed 50-acre construction compound would be situated along the A452 and provide a base for workers and vehicles.

It is likely the site would be used for up to three years and could include accommodation for around 40 workers.

A new temporary roundabout would also have to be built at the junction of Park Lane and Kenilworth Road to cope with traffic while the need for a second smaller site was also identified at nearby Truggist Lane.

Graham Lock, chairman of Heart of England High Speed Railway Action Group (HHAG), said he was shocked to hear about the development.

He said: "We had no idea this was coming and we still find it very difficult to imagine the impact - not just the line and its operation but also the construction and post construction, for example, will the site used for the compound be used for housing after work is complete?"

A spokesman for HS2 Ltd said they were unable to tell residents about the construction compound at an earlier stage because they did not know where they would be located until the plans were developed further.

And he said people will have the chance to comment on the plan when a consultation is held at a future date.

He said: "During the latest community forums we have been able to give an indication of the need for potential construction sites and power supply locations, as well as an assessment of access road requirements, road diversions and measures to retain public rights of way, although as indicated to the forums, these remain work in progress and subject to further development.

"In particular, some work will have to be agreed in advance with the relevant Local Authorities, as described in the draft Code of Construction Practice.

"More detail will be available in the draft Environmental Statement which is due to be published in the Spring."

Like the Balsall Common residents, Meriden MP Caroline Spelman was also unaware of the proposal until she was contacted by the Observer.

She said: "I am unaware of any plans to build a construction compound in Balsall Common. I will raise it straight away with HS2."

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