HS2 bosses have agreed to look at creating designs for an underground tunnel following a desperate plea from residents to mitigate the impact of the controversial scheme.
Andrew Skidmore, area manager for HS2 Ltd West Midlands, has stressed the ultimate decision lies with the Transport Secretary but told members of Solihull Council’s HS2 working party the firm has agreed to look at making the tunnel part of their design plans.
Members of the working party met last Wednesday at Kingshurst Evangelical Church, with Mr Skidmore and MP Caroline Spelman, to discuss some of the issues surrounding the multi-billion pound rail link.
The suggestion of the deep bore tunnel - which would run from the grounds of Warwick University, emerging to the north of the borough - was initially raised by protesters at a public meeting held two weeks ago at Heart of England School, Balsall Common.
The possibility of another tunnel or realignment to the north of the borough was also discussed.
At Wednesday’s meeting, Mr Skidmore said: “It is not within my gift to promise anyone a tunnel - the decision is made by the Secretary of State.
“We will look at the design of a tunnel.
“We understand where the issue is. This is not going to be a short tunnel and it will carry a significant cost. It is also important to say that tunnels will not make railways disappear.
“It reduces the impact on the landscape but there are other impacts to consider.”
Chairman of the working committee, Councillor Ian Courts (Con, Dorridge and Hockley Heath) added: “The tunnel would make a massive difference, it is one of the most important things. The effect on the valley, for example, is going to be devastating.”