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Joy and dismay as HS2 gets the green light

“THINGS are only going to get worse” - that’s the view of Solihull’s high-speed rail opponents, following the Government’s decision to press ahead with the controversial project.

“THINGS are only going to get worse” - that’s the view of Solihull’s high-speed rail opponents, following the Government’s decision to press ahead with the controversial project.

Transport Secretary Justine Greening announced on Tuesday that ministers would forge ahead with the £32billion rail link.

It’s a bitter blow for communities like Balsall Common, Hampton-in-Arden and Chelmsley Wood, who will be on the frontline of the development.

The 13km route through the borough has been altered again, though opponents argue the changes are slight and will yield “no improvement”.

Richard Lloyd, of the Heart of England High Speed Action Group, vowed that campaigners would continue to fight “every step of the way”.

“The HS2 bosses think they can get away with anything in this area, putting all the mitigation down south,” said the Balsall Common resident.

“Both the borough’s MPs and Solihull Council just haven’t taken on board the immense damage this will do - cutting straight through the Meriden Gap.

“But this is just the end of the beginning, we’re just going to see things get more acrimonious.”

John Doidge, from Hampton-in-Arden Parish Council, claimed last year’s consultation had been “a complete sham”.

“Although we’re out of limbo in some respects, there is still a great deal of uncertainty and many questions to be answered,” he said.

But business chiefs, transport authority Centro and the borough’s MPs have welcomed this week’s decision.

Solihull MP Lorely Burt argued that HS2 would be a much-needed shot in the arm for the local economy: “We’re well behind the rest of the world in terms of this type of rail link and it’s sorely needed,” she said.

Leader of Solihull Council, Ken Meeson, said the council were “under no illusions” about the impact on some parts of the borough.

“We will remain in dialogue with the Government and continue to press for a robust compensation package for those adversely affected by the route,” he said.

 

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