Village first in the queue for HS2 cash

A small village in South Warwickshire is the first parish to receive a funding grant from HS2 which will benefit community life.

The successful £75,000 bid jointly from Wormleighton Parochial Church Council (PCC) and Wormleighton Parish Meeting for HS2 Community and Environment Fund (CEF) money will pay for kitchen and toilet facilities to be installed at the village church which will open it up for wider secular community use.

The Government announced today (January 25) that a total of £245,000 has been allocated to community projects along the HS2 route to date, with Wormleighton receiving the single largest sum.

St Peter’s Church is the only building in Wormleighton with capacity for larger events where people can get together together socially. It currently does not have basic facilities for visitors.

The bid been a joint team effort by the PCC led by Isabella Moore and Irvin Klegerman, Chair of the Parish Meeting. Mr Klegerman said: “This funding will help us to do things which can generate the social cohesion we are trying to develop in our community and we are extremely grateful to the team at Warwickshire County Council for providing information and feedback during the application process.

“The 900-year-old church building is the only community asset belonging to the village and the lack of modern facilities has previously constrained our ability to organise family events that would also attract residents from the surrounding area.”

Special events organised by the parish to test demand have attracted around 100 people to the church on each occasion.

Mr Klegerman added: “Our aim now is to achieve facilities fit for the 21st century that will bring our heritage to life for our community and visitors, and provide a lasting legacy for future generations.”

A section of the HS2 London to Birmingham line, including a maintenance loop, will be built in close proximity to Wormleighton.

The £40 million CEF fund is managed by Groundwork on behalf of HS2 Ltd and has been created to add benefit to communities along the route that are demonstrably disrupted by the construction of Phase One of the railway.

The Government is allocating an initial £15 million to the central area – which includes Warwickshire – across both the CEF and the Business and Local Economy Fund (BLEF).

Cllr Jeff Clarke, Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Transport and Economy, said: “The county council is delighted to see one of our parishes seize the initiative and become the first group in Warwickshire to be awarded HS2 funding.

“Wormleighton is an excellent example of how communities can pull together and work with the council to achieve the priorities that they value and secure a better future for themselves

“We encourage local groups to bid for a share of HS2 funding to gain some benefit for the places affected by the construction and operation of the railway. Over the next eight years we expect a great deal of disruption while the line is being built, and this will money will begin to help strengthen the communities in its path.”

The objective of the CEF is to add benefit over and above committed mitigation and statutory compensation to communities and local economies along the HS2 route. A quarter of the HS2 Phase One track – 54 kilometres – will be built in Warwickshire between now and 2026, when the first services are scheduled to run.

More information on HS2 in Warwickshire can be found on the county council’s website at www.warwickshire.gov.uk/hs2