SOLIHULL Borough council have approved the controversial HS2’s plans for the Balsall Common Viaduct.
This comes after Meriden MP, Saqib Bhatti, opposed the plans, saying it is ‘another example of HS2 treating the residents of Balsall Common as second class compared to other areas of the country.’
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.
HS2 Ltd’s Senior Project Manager for Balsall Common, Alan Payne, said: “We’re very pleased to receive planning approval from Solihull Council for the design of the Balsall Common Viaduct.
“We’ve engaged with the community and local councillors over the last couple of years to incorporate their feedback as much as possible.
“We also thank the Officers and Local Councillors who have worked with us to agree additional conditions, as part of the decision. We look forward to working with them in the weeks and months ahead to enable these to be discharged.”
“We’re confident that our plans respect and enhance the local history and natural environment of the area and will provide new green areas for people and wildlife to enjoy.”
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 300 signatures.
Mr Bhatti added: “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.”