WARRINGTON Borough Council supports the principle of high speed rail travel – but is strongly opposed to the proposed route of the HS2 project which would be “particularly destructive” in the borough.
This is spelled out in the council’s response to the consultation exercise for the second phase of HS2 which looks set to agreed by members of the executive board next Monday (January 12).
The proposed response makes it clear the council supports the principle of HS2 extended north of Birmingham as soon as possible.
It also support new HS2 stations at Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly – which it believes are likely to be used by Warrington residents. And it also supports proposals for regenerating and developing Crewe as a high speed rail “city.”
But it does not support the proposed Hoo Green to Bamfurlong section of the main line which would pass through Warrington and would be particularly disruptive to Culcheth Village, Culcheth Linear Park and the Taylor Business Park.
The response document states: “This section has two key functions – to link HS2 to the West Coast Main Lined running northwards and to enable train manoeuvring for Manchester.
“This would seem to be a particularly expensive parts of the HS2 system for no significant benefits. Bearing in mind the rising costs of HS2 and the stated aspiration of HS2 to manage costs more effectively…it would be appropriate to question this routing.”
The borough says HS2 could link with the West Coast Main Line south of Warrington, retaining Bank Quay as an important station.”
The council points out that destruction of the Taylor Business Park would mean the loss of an employment area housing 50 companies, employing 497 staff and generating rental income of around £1.5 million a year. There would be a business rate loss of around £640,000 a year.
“There is clear concern therefore that as it stands the current HS2 proposals would erode Warrington’s economic future – a puzzling concert as the HS2 route actually runs through the borough.
“The destruction of the Taylor Business Park as proposed by the current HS2 proposals is actually against both national and local economic policy. This clearly needs a serious rethink.”
Picture: Artist’s impression of HS2 crossing the Bridgewater Canal near Lymm.