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Villages v city in the fight over HS2

REPORTER David Irwin continues his walk along the proposed route of HS2 through the borough.

REPORTER David Irwin continues his walk along the proposed route of HS2 through the borough.

RESIDENTS living on the outskirts of Hampton-in-Arden have described it as ‘a scar’ or ‘like having Spaghetti Junction on your doorstep’.

They’re talking about a viaduct, which will carry HS2 over the River Blythe and effectively turn a section of Meriden Road into a fly-over: villagers claim the road will need to be raised 50ft to carry traffic over the line and its pylons.

Last Friday’s walk started a short distance away, on the leafy footpath that passes through the Marsh Lane Nature Reserve.

Wildlife-enthusiasts have raised grave concerns about the impact the route will have on the habitat.

I emerge on the Meriden Road at Patrick Farm Barns, the future of which remains uncertain since HS2 was announced.

Outside I’m met by John Doidge, a parish councillor and member of the residents’ group, the Hampton Society.

He shows me the 500m stretch, from Kenilworth Road to Lapwing Drive, that will be affected by the viaduct.

“It’s going to have an absolutely massive effect on the local countryside,” he said.

“We had no idea about what this viaduct would mean until towards the end of the consultation in June.

“No-one had explained it to us, it was something we had to sit down with an engineer and work out for ourselves.”

We head down Diddington Lane and meet up with Marshall Blair; trains will pass only a few hundred metres from his garden.

“The noise is a real concern and all the disruption during the construction will be hellish,” says Mr Marshall.

“They’ve just drawn a line on the map and are finding out what the impact is.”

Meanwhile the Hampton Society claims that the “constant whine” of trains will affect thousands.

Carrying on up Diddington Lane, which is also set to be diverted, I come to Stonebridge and on up the Chester Road.

It’s near here that HS2 will build the interchange station and five-storey car park, with 7000 extra spaces.

The nearby NEC and airport are big supporters of the scheme, which they say is vital to the local economy.

Paul Thandi, chief executive of the NEC, recently described it as “the biggest opportunity for job creation in a generation”.

But the logistics of building a new station have been challenged by veteran Bickenhill councillor Jim Ryan.

Others have questioned whether using a shuttle to move people to the NEC and airport will negate the faster journey times.

Something to ponder as I continue up the Chester Road, for the final leg of my journey.



Cathrina Hulse
Multimedia Journalist
Annette Belcher
Multimedia Journalist
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