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Protesters fear 'years of HS2 blight' around Tamworth

By Tamworth Herald  |  Posted: February 02, 2013

  • The railway will pass close to residential properties in Hockley, Tamworth, as shown on the map of the proposed route, below left. (TAPB20130129A-713_C)

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TAMWORTH Borough Council's leader for economic development said this week he was in support of the high speed rail line – as long as a "good economic case" could be proved.

As details emerged for the next phase of HS2 Councillor Steve Claymore, cabinet member for economic development, said the council would be looking at the finer detail of the plans for the second phase of HS2.

But he stressed that people affected by the plans should be properly compensated.

"The details of HS2's next phase has only just been announced and we are now looking into the finer detail to assess any impact this might have on Tamworth and our residents," Cllr Claymore said.

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"Tamworth is a key member of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership which aims to bring investment to the area and improve the economic future of the region.

"The LEP remains broadly in favour of HS2 and the opportunities it could bring to the area."

Cllr Claymore continued: "From a local viewpoint... I support HS2 as long as it can be proved there is a good economic case for this phase and affected people are adequately compensated where appropriate.

"Obviously the announcement of the second phase is only in its infancy and our planners will now look into any local implications and potential impacts for our area.

"We will also be talking to colleagues in the LEP to ensure we have all the information necessary to make a more detailed response."

The preferred route – travelling towards Leeds – runs from Birmingham, past Water Orton, running west of Bodymoor Heath, straight through the wildlife haven of Kingsbury Water Park, before crossing over the M42 to run past the village of Whateley.

Plans then plough past Tamworth and homes near Hockley, and Wilnecote before passing straight through Tamworth service station at Junction 10 of the M42.

Continuing northwards, passing near homes in Stonydelph, it again crosses the M42 to run west of Polesworth, through Pooley Fields Heritage Centre, and passing between Austrey and Newton Regis.

But the plans have been met with dismay this week by North Warwickshire Borough Council.

Cllr Alan Cockburn said: "It is with great disappointment that HS2 Limited have not learnt from their past experiences and realised that announcements, such as this one, have a significant and detrimental impact on our communities – and in particular on those that will be directly affected by the construction of the rail line.

"We have repeatedly requested early consultation and draft plans so we are able to influence decisions and try to reassure residents and businesses on what this will mean to them. As yet these requests have been largely ignored."

The leader of North Warwickshire Borough Council said a judicial review challenging the overall scheme was still ongoing and that the court's decision should be finalised before any further announcement is made.

"We have grave concerns over this latest development as we have had no contact from the Government or HS2 Ltd to discuss the detail of the route," he said.

And commenting on the announcement, Joe Rukin, director of action group Stop HS2 warned people faced years of blight.

"Like the hard working tax payers that live on, and near the route of phase one of HS2, the residents and community of Tamworth and North Warwickshire will discover that they face decades of property blight and uncertainty," he said.

"On the route of phase one prospective buyers find it almost impossible to get mortgages; the value of homes drop and families and retirees have had to put their plans on hold.

"Proposed compensation for home owners is less than generous and if your home is more than 120 metres from the line virtually non-existent."

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  • fjortoft  |  March 24 2013, 4:22PM

    Total nonsense Chris. If he couldn't name all the benefits, maybe it was because he didn't have enough time? There are too many to mention but they included decreased pollution from all the cars it will take off the road. Decreased congestion. Freed up capacity on existing lines allowing extra services from places like Milton Keynes. Huge economic benefits from the decreased journey times between the UK's major cities. The economic benefits from construction itself. The skills gained by working on a project like this which will allow UK companies to tender for other countries high speed rail projects. Reduced journey times from major UK cities to the rest of Europe leading to freed up airport capacity. Reduced journey times to the UK's own airports. Regeneration around stations such as old oak common and Curzon street. It is precisely because we are not investing enough money in infrastructure that the economy is stagnating. All economists agree that we need to spend more on this and it will more than pay for itself by massively boosting the economy. HS2 is exactly the kind of infrastructure needed for economic recovery- our transport system is overloaded and urgently needs upgrading. High speed rail is the most effective and environmentally friendly way to do this. Archiepop - Maybe because there's a stop just 20 minutes away from Tamworth? Faster transport links are directly correlated with economic growth and businesses in Tamworth being able to reach other parts of the country quicker and access wider markets will be a huge benefit to them. I think your assertion than places like Birmingham and Nottingham leech finances out of the town is very dubious. Plenty of people will work in good jobs in Birmingham but spend their money in Tamworth - this is obviously still a benefit to the town. The economic and environmental benefits are profoundly obvious to anyone who cares to do some basic research. Read my first paragraph if you need reminding of some of them.

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  • Achiepop  |  March 22 2013, 4:52PM

    FJORTOFT: How will a line, that doesn't stop in the town, only scars it, leaving hundreds with worthless properties, 'massively benefit' the town? The closest stops will be Birmingham and Nottingham - both of which already leech work and finances out of the town, so how can they benefit it? Not to mention, the economic and environmental impacts have yet to be fully considered (as per the judges reports, these were disregarded and being 'not yer relevant or ready), how can you make such an unsupported, inaccurate claim?

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  • CllrChris  |  March 22 2013, 10:18AM

    I asked the Council leader precisely this question about the benefits of HS2 - and the truth is he could not name them. Neither can I. What I can say is that no matter where you look in politics - national or local there are people trying to spend massive amounts of money for very little good reason. The HS2 is one example. Tamworth's £21 million (borrowed of course!) to knock down and build up parts of Tinkers Green and the Kerria is another example. It may be nice to be able to do these things but - for heaven's sakes - we are in a huge depression and spending money we don't have on things that have little or no benefit is just going to make things worse. It's not even Keynesian economics - because Keynes, who wasn't quite so stupid, made it very clear that spending ones way out of a recession had to be done on the infrastructure necessary for economic recovery. Roads, factories, research, industrial investment, real training for real jobs. Not spending for the sake of spending! Printing money and spending billions more on houses, without economic recovery, will simply make house prices sky-rocket further. It's the economics of the madhouse.

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  • fjortoft  |  March 20 2013, 9:03PM

    Far from blighting it, the line will massively benefit Tamworth

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  • weskiwi  |  February 02 2013, 1:22PM

    Cllr Claymore states that he is in favour of HS2, so long as a good economic case could be proved? Just a simple question. Just whom will he rely on to make the good economic case? Just about everyone with an iron in the fire can be relied upon to make a good case for bringing for bringing back into service, steam trains, and in the case of HS2, will do so. The vandals driving this project have just about all the big guns that they need to * make the case for!!* I name them vandals, not because I am against it, but because all objections will eventually be overruled, lies will be told; the first being the cost, which will eventually at least double, think the olympics and the lies that were told about that cost. Cllr. Claymore and you elongated title, neither you nor your compatriots on the council, will make not the slightest bit of difference to the outcome, no matter how long you sit and pontificate the matter. Neither does it need pointing out from council or anywhere else that people affected by the plans should be compensated, simply stating the obvious. However, I would bet that very very few will be properly compensated.

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