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MP defends villagers' fears over rail plans

By This is Tamworth  |  Posted: April 08, 2011

Tamworth MP Christopher Pincher defended village residents.

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TAMWORTH'S MP took to Parliament to defend village residents after claims they were 'Nimbies' – after protesting about a high speed railway, which is planned to pass through the area.

Christopher Pincher joined a debate in the House of Commons last week to represent "several hundred" residents who are opposed to the High Speed Two (HS2) line.

He said: "My constituents are not Nimbies. I have spoken to several hundred of them over the past months, and I saw about 80 last Saturday.

"They tell me that if it can be demonstrably proven that the business case stacks up, if there are proper mitigations in place in their vicinity, and if they get fair and reasonable compensation for the loss they suffer, they will, through gritted teeth, accept the proposal."

Mr Pincher continued: "The trouble, as we have heard today, is that the business case has not been proven, mitigations are not yet known. The route was announced last December but in the Tamworth area we are still waiting for a roadshow, which we will not get until June and, although we have had hints about compensation for blight, we still do not know anything about what we might get."

The debate was held between MPs in Westminster Hall last Thursday.

The planned route runs west of Coleshill, close to the villages of Middleton, Drayton Bassett and Hints and will also run past Whittington Barracks.

It will also cross the A5 between Tamworth and Lichfield, and the A453 between Tamworth and Sutton Coldfield.

It is feared a future expansion of the line could pass through Kingsbury, following the route of the M42, heading north.

Mr Pincher concluded that the business case put forward by HS2 Ltd to justify the railway was "significantly flawed".

He said: "I call upon the Minister to look again at the business case proposed by HS2 Ltd, and again, and more carefully, at Rail Package 2.

"There is still time for her to change her mind, and I hope that she considers doing so."

Minister of State for Transport Theresa Villiers, said that the consultation currently underway was "genuine and transparent" and that the Department for Transport would listen to people's contributions to the consultation.

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