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HS2 review offers new hope for campaigners

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THE Government’s recently announced review of the HS2 rail line offers new hope to the Culcheth area – which would be devastated by the high speed railway.
If it leads to the line being scrapped altogether it would obviously remove the blight which hangs over the village.
But even if it turns out to be merely a cost-cutting exercise, Culcheth could still be spared as the controversial Golborne Link – the section that would cut through the village – would be an obvious section to be scrapped.
Local campaigners have greeted the review with cautious optimism.
Cllr Frank Allen, chairman of CADRAG – the Culcheth and District Rail Acton Group – said: “If this a proper review it will show up the fact that the Golborne Link is not necessary and not cost effective.
“The Prime Minister keeps saying he is not in favour of HS2 at all, so we must have some hope. But even if HS2 survives, the Golborne Link must surely be an obvious economy that could be made.”
Cllr Allen said CADRAG were making enquiries to see if it was possible to have some input to the review.
“At present there is no letter box with HS2 review on it,” he said.
Parish councillor Keith Bland agreed: “As far as I am concerned, if they are going to carry out a review it can only be a good thing.
“It may be that HS2 as a whole is too far down the line to be scrapped – although it would not be the first time a major scheme ha been halted despite vast sums of money having been spent on it.
“But getting rid of the Golborne Link, which is not necessary, would be an obvious economy.”
Cllr Jacqui Johnson – a member of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England – said: “It will certainly be better to have a review than to not have a review.
“It offers some hope that we will not have a rail line running through Culcheth.”
The Golborne link was originally intended to avoid congestion at Crewe, provide a depot at Golborne and a link to the West Coast Main Line for trains to Scotland.
But in 2014 plans were announced for an HS2 station and a depot at Crew, along with a direct connection to the West Coast Main Line.
Campaigners say this removes the need for the Golborne Link.
If the Link remains in the overall plan, a wide area including High Legh, Agden, Broomedge, Lymm East, Heatley, Warburton, Dunham, Partington, Rixton-with-Glazebrook, Culcheth and Lowton would be affected.

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