Coventry & Warwickshire

Warwickshire villages hit by 'north' HS2 plans

James Richards with horses
Image caption James Richards, who runs Dunton Stables in Curdworth, said he would have to relocate

Villages across north Warwickshire will be hit by the next stage of high-speed rail line plans from Birmingham to Nottingham.

On Monday ministers revealed the routes for two northern lines for the HS2 route, from Birmingham to Leeds and from Birmingham to Manchester.

The first new rail line would take it from Water Orton, following a route near to the M42 towards Nottingham.

North Warwickshire MP Dan Byles called the plans "devastating".

Areas likely to be affected by that route, which will stop at Toton, in Nottingham, Sheffield and Leeds, include villages around Water Orton, Middleton, Coleshill, Kingsbury and Polesworth, in Warwickshire.

The second route, which will link Birmingham to stations in Crewe, Manchester and Manchester Airport, will affect parts of Staffordshire near to Lichfield, Rugeley, Stafford and Stone.

The final route is expected to be chosen by the end of 2014.

'Unsurprising but devastating'

The proposed route of the £32bn line between London and Birmingham had already been announced, which will affects more southern areas of Warwickshire, including Kenilworth.

Mr Byles, the Conservative MP for north Warwickshire and Bedworth, tweeted: "It's a bad day for North Warwickshire with the publication of #HS2 phase 2. Unsurprising, but devastating."

He later told the BBC: "It's a real disappointment to those of us who've been following this and fighting this in north Warwickshire, but we've always known that the M42 corridor was the most likely route for the [HS2] Y junction."

Image caption Ali Gocerili said he hoped the scheme would improve the economy

James Richards, who runs Dunton Stables in Curdworth, said if HS2 went ahead, his business would be "sandwiched" between an existing rail line and the new one and said he would have to relocate.

He said the noise would be "excessive" and a nearby bridleway would be lost and said he did not believe it would be "safe to operate" if the line went ahead.

Supporters say the high-speed line, which will enable trains to travel at speeds of up to 250mph, will allow passengers to get from Birmingham to London in 49 minutes and from Birmingham to Leeds in 57 minutes.

Christine Lansbury-Banks, who has lived in Water Orton for 20 years, said she thought it was "a complete waste of money".

She added: "It will have a big impact on the environment and will cost millions. The country is in debt up to its eyes. I was brought up to believe if you haven't got the money you can't spend it."

Ali Gocerili, 21, runs an established family fish and chip shop in Water Orton.

He said: "[The government] are saying it will improve the economy so let's hope it does because the economy in the whole of the UK is not going well at the moment."

Mr Gocerili said he thought about 75% of his customers were negative about HS2.

Image caption The high-speed service would bypass Water Orton station under the plans

He said: "I think it's just the whole thing of a high-speed train running through the villages. If there was a stop here, that would be better, but people are saying they will still have to travel long distances to catch it."

Dino di Marco, of Curdworth, said: "It's going to have a dramatic impact in this area - one of my favourite fisheries [Cuttle Mill] closed because of it.

"But if it brings more business, then overall it's a positive thing."

Lyndon Williams, landlord of The Norton pub next to Coleshill Parkway station, said a lot of signs had gone up in Water Orton about HS2.

But Mr Williams said he had not seen any plans showing how Coleshill would be affected.

He added: "I think it's going to affect people more in Water Orton than here... That's the future. We're not going to stop it, for all the moaning we do. It's inevitable."

The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce said it was still working with the Department for Transport to try to minimise the negative impact the HS2 line would have on the area.

Its chief executive Louise Bennett said that polls it had carried out with members had been "fairly evenly split" between those in favour and those against.

Building work on the Y-shaped extension could start in the middle of the next decade, with the line open by 2032-33.

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