MP’s hear county case on HS2

Warwickshire County Council has put its case before Parliament in a bid to resolve issues caused by amendments to the original plans for HS2.

The county council lodged two petitions on the amendments to the hybrid bill, known as Additional Provisions, to seek better outcomes and lessen the impact of HS2 on Warwickshire residents as the HS2 bill passes through the House of Commons.

The HS2 Select Committee MP’s heard evidence last week on the council’s request for the proposed Ladbroke to Southam cycleway to be built to a safer standard and for HS2 to adopt better means of managing its environmental obligations.

Other issues contained in the petition, such as highways matters, potential flood risk and specific local concerns including construction traffic near Stoneleigh were addressed by HS2 Ltd before the committee appearance by way of ‘assurance’ – letters outlining their commitments.

Cllr Peter Butlin, Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for HS2, said: “We are proud of our notable achievements to date in securing better mitigation on the scheme from HS2. While many of the requests in our recent petitions have been met, we are actively pursuing any outstanding issues following last week’s appearance in front of the select committee.

“Throughout the Parliamentary process the county council has continued to provide leadership to local groups and, where we can, help them to put their own cases across to the select committee. Our aim is to seek the best deal possible for Warwickshire and protect the county from the impact of HS2.”

The authority appeared during a session including other county petitioners including Kenilworth and Southam MP Jeremy Wright, North Warwickshire MP Craig Tracey and community representatives from Lea Marston, Middleton, Water Orton, Kingsbury and Burton Green.

The county council previously petitioned the select committee in Autumn 2014 on a number of major issues contained in the original HS2 bill. Among its many successes, the authority secured funding for a new primary school at Water Orton, improvements to Kenilworth Greenway, a cycle bridge over the Fosse Way at Offchurch, and a new bridge at Wormleighton.

Kingsbury councillor Brian Moss, the county council’s Labour group spokesman on HS2 who attended last week’s House of Commons hearing, said: “The committee heard that communities still have many genuine concerns and unresolved issues on HS2. It is clear that better engagement is needed from HS2 Ltd in the future.”

Cllr John Whitehouse, Warwickshire County Council’s Liberal Democrat lead on HS2, added: “It is encouraging to see so many residents, including those in Burton Green, putting their time and effort into getter better mitigation from HS2 on behalf of their neighbourhoods. They should all be proud of the way they have conducted themselves during this arduous process in trying to hold HS2 Ltd to account.”

The HS2 Select Committee will make final recommendations in a summary report when it concludes its hearings in the coming weeks. The HS2 bill is set to be considered by the House of Lords in the Spring.

Links to the county council’s select committee documents can be found at www.warwickshire.gov.uk/hs2