Coventry & Warwickshire

HS2 rail link cemetery plans opposed

Residents are protesting about plans to tunnel High Speed Two (HS2) rail links under a Warwickshire cemetery.

In the most recent proposals, a section of the route goes under ancient woodland and a private cemetery near Long Itchington.

The area includes a war memorial and graves of fallen soldiers and local family members.

HS2 said the final route for the line, which would be 35m below the ground, had not yet been decided.

Residents have been reacting as roadshows about the rail plans are taking place in Warwickshire.

'Very hurt'

Both parents and a brother of local farmer Derek Hiatt are buried in the cemetery.

He said: "[The planned route] goes right under that cemetery and I cannot agree with that.

"I will feel very hurt if they go anywhere near that cemetery."

Pauline Hughes lives close to the cemetery in Bascote Heath.

Image caption Ladbroke Action Group protested in Bell Inn car park during the roadshow

She said: "We believe it will have a disastrous impact on our lives.

"The prospect of having 28 trains an hour rushing in and out of that tunnel doesn't bear thinking about."

HS2 Ltd director Ian Jordan said of the planned tunnel: "It would be over 35 metres below ground level.

"Our engineers have visited several times and we are absolutely confident there will be no impact on the wood itself and no impact at all on the cemetery, which is anyway somewhat to the north of the tunnel alignment.

"We aim to limit the impacts we have on people, on the environment and obviously on things like cemeteries.

"But actually tunnelling 35 metres below ground level means there is absolutely no impact at ground level at all."

Phase one of the scheme aims to provide high-speed rail links between London and Birmingham. The Department for Transport is holding HS2 public consultations until July.

A roadshow is visiting sites along the proposed route. It was in Ladbroke on 2 June and Southam on 3 and 4 June.

The roadshow continued in Cubbington on Monday and is Kenilworth on 13 and 14 June.

BBC Coventry & Warwickshire is hosting a debate at the Kenilworth Youth and Community Centre between 1800 BST and 1900 BST on Sunday, 12 June.

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