MERIDEN MP, Saqib Bhatti, has hit out at HS2’s plans for the Balsall Common viaduct.
The Conservative MP said the proposed designs published by the high speed rail company is ‘another example of HS2 treating the residents of Balsall Common as second class compared to other areas of the country.’
He has written to the Minister of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, to oppose the viaduct planned for the area.
The viaduct will be 425m long, approximately 10m above ground level and pass over Truggist Lane, Bayleys Brook, Heart of England Way Walk and the associated floodplain.
Mr Bhatti said: “The viaduct is just another example of HS2 treating the residents of Balsall Common as second class compared to other areas of the country where they have taken huge steps to mitigate the effect of the construction and also, provided viaduct designs that are much more in keeping with the local area.
“Despite promising to the House of Commons Transport Select Committee that the local community of Balsall Common would be provided with design options for consultation, HS2 have failed to offer any alternatives.
“For this reason, I strongly endorse the petition regarding this issue and will continue to do everything I can to hold HS2 to account.
“I strongly urge HS2, yet again, to work with the residents and Parish Councils to provide realistic options for the design of the viaduct.
“Any design options for Balsall Common area should be as favourable as those granted for the Colne Valley Viaduct.”
The designs have attracted significant opposition from the local communities of Balsall Common and Berkswell, including the local Parish Councils.
Merdien Councillor, Diane Howell, has also started a petition to Solihull Council asking HS2 to provide alternative design options.
So far this petition has garnered more than 100 signatures.
A spokesperson for HS2 said: “HS2 Ltd is committed to engaging with communities affected by the building of the new railway.
“As part of this commitment we have held a number of workshops over the past four years, attended by the local council, where we have been challenged on our designs for Balsall Common Viaduct and we have made a number of improvements based on this feedback.
“Furthermore we have held local open day events in the community and we are currently considering the feedback received before reporting back on the final designs of the structure.”
For more to sign Coun Howell’s petition click here.