“THE staggering thing is that people have no idea that in 15 or 20 years time there will be an almighty structure here.”
Strong words from Berkswell parish councillor Richard Lloyd who was speaking after a packed public meeting in Hampton- in- Arden this week saw locals turn out to hear plans for the government’s proposed new high-speed rail network.
Featuring 250mph trains, the government is recommending a route for a new line between London and Birmingham - a decision which would affect the borough’s villages including Burton Green, Hampton-in-Arden, Balsall Common, Berkswell and Meriden.
The new line could cut the journey time between the cities to just 46 minutes.
The meeting at Fentham Hall, was organised by local parish and town councils and chaired by councillor Gill Lewis from Hampton-in-Arden Parish Council. Around 120 people signed a register declaring their opposition.
Coun Lloyd said: “The general feeling is that this is not right for the country. They want the trains to run faster than any in Europe, it’s not a little country railway. These new trains will be twice the width of the motorway, it’s absolutely horrendous.”
And local politicians voiced their concerns.
Solihull’s Lib Dem MP Lorely Burt said: “I am a real advocate of High Speed rail, but there are several villages that are going to be affected in Solihull and I think it’s very important that people living there are consulted.”
And Meriden MP, Caroline Spelman added : “I was very disappointed not to be able to attend Tuesday’s meeting as I know what an emotive issue this is. It is important that all the right questions are asked and so I have written to Philip Hammond, Secretary of State for Transport, to get accurate information that I can then relay to any of my constituents who are anxious about this proposed scheme.”
Coun Loyd said: “When we say it’s probably the most damaging development proposal that’s ever been made in this area, it’s unfortunately all too true. The harm will be comprehensive, and permanent.”
The public will be consulted on the proposed route, with work unlikely to start until 2017 at the earliest.
If you would like to join the upcoming action group, contact Richard on firstname.lastname@example.org.