MORE than 100 people have attended a public meeting to discuss the potential impact of a controversial multi-billion high speed railway plan.
The Ashby, Measham & Moira Community Forum invited representatives from Leicestershire County and North West Leicestershire District Council’s as well as members of the public to its meeting at Ivanhoe College, in North Street, Ashby, yesterday night.
In the light of the recent announcements on the proposed High Speed Rail Line (HS2) Phase 2, there was an opportunity at the meeting to see detailed maps of the route, share views and to discuss the potential impact of the proposals on the local area. Around 150 residents attended for this discussion.
Ian Drummond (assistant director for transportation at Leicestershire County Council) and David Hughes (head of planning and development at North West Leicestershire District Council) attended to listen to concerns and answer questions.
The Birmingham to Manchester line will, under the Government’s proposals, come within hundreds of yards of Staffordshire villages including Whittington, Kings Bromley, Alrewas and Fradley. Meanwhile, the Birmingham to Leeds line will run straight through North West Leicestershire — passing through North West Leicestershire towns and villages including Measham, Moira and Ashby.
The total cost of the HS2 scheme is estimated to be £33 billion. The second phase of the project — linking Manchester and Leeds to Birmingham — will cost £18.2 billion.
The Government says HS2 will create 100,000 jobs, generate economic benefits of £47 billion and revenues of up to £34 billion over a 60-year period.
However, the district council has already agreed a motion to object to the Government’s proposed route through North West Leicestershire.
Councillor Alison Smith, deputy leader of the North West Leicestershire District Council and portfolio holder for community services, said: “We feel that the proposal will jeopardise our efforts to build up a viable tourism industry in the National Forest and will have a negative impact on our countryside and thousands of residential properties.”
Leicestershire County Council is also conducting a survey which is available by visiting www.leics.gov.uk/hs2survey.htm and an extensive consultation is also taking place and is available by visiting www.hs2.org.uk pr phoning 0300 123 1102, by April 29.